February 22nd, 2013

Health N' Sports: Injury Prevention

Staff Report

Health N' Sports: Injury Prevention
photo from www.fitnessgoop.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/knee-valgus1.jpg

How to prevent injuries

As a part of the Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic, the Sports Rehab Team physical therapists are knowledgeable and trained in the latest advancements and techniques available in sports rehabilitation.

On a weekly basis, the Health N’ Sports Update will give information on prevention, recovery, and include special offers, as well as general health tips that would be beneficial to all. If there is a specific topic you’d like to know or hear more about, email future suggestions to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

Rebranding Injury Prevention

Coaches and more importantly athletes don’t want to incur injuries.  Spending 20-30 minutes per training session doing therapeutic exercises to prevent injury, although very important, has low adherence secondary to athlete boredom and coaches feeling it takes away from valuable time practicing.  What if the term “injury prevention exercises,” was renamed “neuromuscular performance” exercises?

Specific Injury Prevention Program

The Cincinnati Sports Medicine Research and Education Foundation published a study showing that in regards to the ACL, a soccer specific injury prevention program improved neuromuscular performance.  The study hypothesized that if the ACL injury prevention program showed improved athletic performance, the program would have a higher adherence rate among student athletes and coaches.

Females at Greater Risk

Over the last 30 years, the popularity among female soccer players has grown leaps and bounds.  Unfortunately, females are at greater risk of sustaining a serious knee ligament injury.  Of those ligament injuries, the ACL was the most common injury. Keep in mind, many of the same maneuvers required in soccer are also skills and techniques used in another growing girls sport, volleyball. However, no matter what sport you play, the same principles can be applied to implement a sport specific injury prevention program.

The female skeletal structure in the pelvic girdle tends to have wider hips than males to help accommodate birth.  This wider hip structure also causes a greater Q-angle.   

The Cincinnati Sports Medicine Research and Education Foundation performed a study to determine the efficacy of an injury prevention program & how it effects injury prevention, as well as, how it enhances athletic performance.

Performance Improvement

Over a 6 week period, performing the exercises 3 times per week for 90-120 minutes showed significant improvements in the knee and ankle separation distance, which indicated a more neutral position for the lower extremities, instead of landing with increased Q angles.  More importantly, improved speed, agility and VO2max were noted. 

Only three studies have been done on ACL injury prevention.  Of course with more studies, the findings will likely reinforce and validate the need to bring more attention to the importance of incorporating prevention exercises into a player’s typical training routine. 

As a former professional cyclist, I can testify from my own experience that although we want to implement sport specific exercises into our training, I benefited greatly from incorporating exercises that helped provide stability and support to allow my sport specific muscles to perform better.  At 5’7” and 150 lbs., I am not what you would consider a very imposing type of athlete.  However, by incorporating the neuromuscular performance exercises, I was able to squat 2.5 times my weight and improved my power output. 

Spending 20-30 minutes per practice is a small price to pay to help prevent injuries, rather spending 6 months rehabbing an ACL injury.

-Tommy Board, PTA-

Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic & Sports Rehab Center

Main Office: 502-897-1794

Physical Therapy: 502-897-1790

Website: louortho.com

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