As an orthopedic sports medicine physician, I see patients with knee injuries on a daily basis. Though it’s a relief to discover that somebody’s pain is from a minor condition like a tweak or low-grade sprain, all too often I diagnose serious knee injuries, such as torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs).
Around the world, about 300,000 people suffer an ACL tear each year, and women are three to 10 times more likely than males. Most injuries occur when a person is off-balance when landing from a jump, stopping, or quickly changing direction while running.
Core training, plyometrics, and strengthening exercises are some of the easiest ways to prevent ACL injuries, because it’s important to maintain an athletic stance whenever possible—feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hands in front of the body. Just a few weeks of three simple exercises can lessen the likelihood of a knee injury, leading to more enjoyment and less downtime during our precious summer days.
Jump at a 45-degree angle, landing on one foot, and then hold in a single-leg stance while maintaining an athletic position. Remember to keep your eyes up and your body weight centered over the balls of the feet. Try repeating down a long hallway or across a large room.
Balance on an unstable surface, such as a wobble board, roller board, or BOSU ball. Remember to maintain the athletic position. Advanced techniques can incorporate ball catches, kicking, and squatting.
Starting with feet shoulder-width apart, swing your arms and bend your knees to provide forward momentum. Jump forward as far as possible, while still being able to land on both feet and maintain an athletic stance. Like the 45-degree jump, keep your eyes up and your body weight centered over the balls of your feet.
Enjoy the summer and play hard!
Mark Deibert is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and knee and shoulder reconstruction. When not in the mountains, he can be found at Alpine Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, P.C.