Knee Injuries and Girls
It’s been well documented that girls and women suffer more anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries while playing basketball and soccer than their male counterparts. The ACL provides internal stability to the knee while doing activities such as landing from a jump as well as pivoting and cutting.
Although the reasons for ACL injuries have not been fully uncovered, it has been observed that girls move differently on the basketball court than boys. Many girls appear to land and move with “straight knees” as opposed to always keeping a slight bend present. This straight knee position puts much stress on the AACL, especially during a quick stop, change in direction or a landing from a jump. One of the current efforts to prevent ACL injuries has been to train girls to avoid straight knees and keep the stress off the ACL.
Relearning how to stand and move is no easy task. One of the best ways to understand what needs to change is to observe yourself on videotape. Once you have a picture in your mind of how you actually move, retraining can occur if it is needed. Presently, programs aimed at ACL injury prevention are available. Speak to the athletic trainer at your school to find out where the closest program is in your area. Better yet, encourage your coaches and/or trainers to set up a program at your school.
The best injury treatment is PREVENTION.
Debra A. Zillmer, M.D.