New hope for better ACL knee ligament repairs. Here are three ways to prevent an ACL tear.

New hope for better ACL knee ligament repairs. Here are three ways to prevent an ACL tear.

A torn ACL can be horrific for a young person, because it leaves the knee with a permanent instability. The current thinking is that young individuals should have it repaired, usually with a muscle tendon that is moved to a different spot inside the knee to help stabilize it. Older people, since they are less likely to play basketball and perform other activities that torque the knee are often advised to rehabilitate the knee using conventional methods instead.

Some new research offers encouraging news for those who have had this injury, which unlike other knee ligaments does not heal on its own. The ligament is responsible for anterior stability of the knee. If the ligament is torn, the knee can slide forward and rotate in ways that can cause knee collapse and further damage.

It is understood that a repaired ligament will stabilize the knee but can require up to a year of healing. Years later, because the body mechanics are no longer perfect, arthritis of the knee is expected to develop which can lead to further problems in the way someone walks.

New research in an article featured in the NY Times suggests current research may lead us to a better type of ACL repair, by using our own tissue. Read about it below;

Why A.C.L. Injuries Sideline So Many Athletes



For athletes, few sounds are more ominous than the percussive pop that can signal a ruptured knee ligament.

Tears to the anterior cruciate ligament sideline more athletes for longer periods of time than almost any other acute injury. Seasons, even careers, end when the A.C.L. tears.

Until recently, however, researchers couldn’t explain why torn A.C.L.’s were so difficult to treat. But studies recently completed at Boston Children’s Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital in Providence help to elucidate why the A.C.L., almost alone among ligaments, doesn’t heal itself. The findings also shed light on how that situation could potentially be changed, and blown knees more easily repaired.

The particular problem with the A.C.L. — which runs diagonally through the knee, helping to maintain joint stability — is that it is a tiny tissue asked to handle intolerable loads when an athlete’s knee violently twists and torques during contact sports or tumbling falls. The American ski racer Lindsey Vonn tore her A.C.L. during a competition last winter and is still rehabilitating her knee, in preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

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The larger concern is how can we prevent this type of injury? Prevention requires a proper understanding of body mechanics. Most people who experience ACL tears are built asymmetrically. Asymmetry causes distortion in the pelvis because the myofascia surrounding the core muscles with shorten and tighten. This is usually due to inherited traits such as foot overpronation which will stiffen up the back of the leg, the calf and the foot and ankle. When the ankle locks up, so will the hip joint as well in compensation. Since this will also help distort the pelvis, the leg will hit the ground harder, making the leg stiffer and exposing the knee to greater force. Plant the foot and twist, and the knee is locked and loaded to make injury to the ACL likely.

Your sports chiropractor may be quite helpful in improving your body mechanics and can be a helpful resource because they look at your body, not just the knee. Methods such as spinal, pelvic and extremity manipulation can help restore normal movement patterns in the legs which predispose us to injury, especially when combined with methods such as myofascial release to the surrounding tissues..

Here are three things you can do now to prevent ACL tears.

1. Pelvic Bridging – quite helpful in stabilizing the core. Athletic trainers in many high schools began a program of core training for adolescent girls (a group highly likely to have this type of injury) and found out that fewer girls had ACL tears. Watch this video

2. Wear footwear with arches or either custom or off the shelf orthotics. This helps level the pelvis out and reduces stress on the knee while improving body mechanics.

3. Foam rolling – quite helpful in loosening up stiff myofascia in the core and other areas, which improves firing patterns and helps improve the way you move, decreasing the likelihood of injury. View our foam roller video here

What do you think? As always, I value your opinion.