ACL tears usually happen with twisting, jumping, landing, or cutting when a foot is planted and there is a twisting motion that causes the knee to turn excessively inward, which is known as genu valgum.
Once the ACL is torn, it must be repaired in order to eventually return to a high level of competition. The graft used to repair the torn ACL can be from a cadaver or a structure within the patient's own body. After the procedure is completed, the patient then goes through an on-going series of rehab with a different focus at each stage of the process. The first of which is range of motion restoration, swelling reduction, normalizing gait pattern, and regaining full strength of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and other musculature that interacts with the knee. Usually, if recovery goes well, the patient is able to begin returning to running and plyometrics after a few months. This is an attempt to lead to more aggressive side to side motion and single leg acceleration movement later during the recovery process. Typical return to play is often dependent on other structures that can be damaged in conjunction with the ACL, but often times is between 8-12 months.
As discussed previously, ACL injuries lead to a lengthy recovery, and can lead to other knee pathologies in the future. The biggest predictor of injury is previous injury. That it is why it is imperative to keep the knee as safe as possible prior to any catastrophic injury. Although contact injuries are usually unforeseen and unavoidable instances, non-contact ACL injuries are far more predictable. Sportsmetrics is a great tool used in preventing non-contact ACL injuries! Sportsmetrics is a clinically proven and field validated ACL injury prevention training program designed towards young athlete during the midst of development, when growth rate is rapid, and strength and neuromotor control often lag behind. Sportsmetrics focuses on reducing the risk factors that are associated with non-contact knee injuries through a series of strength, agility, and plyometric activities.