5 Worst Sports for Tearing Your ACL

It is the twisting of your knee that is the primary provoker of ACL injuries, but twisting combined with contact heightens your risk of injury. Wearing cleats is another thing that can increase your chance of damaging your knee. Since your foot and leg are more firmly planted, your knee might travel more distance without them following. Sports that involve quick stop-and-go movements, back-and-forth movements, and up-and-down movements, like jumping, pivoting, and weaving are all high-risk for an ACL injury.

  1. Basketball: The landing and pivoting in basketball is hard on your knees. Quickly changing direction to cut around another player twists your knees and puts a high amount of strain on them.
  2. Football: In football there is a lot of running with quick starts, stops, and turns. The contact can also contribute to a knee injury because it results in instant stops and turns. That, in combination with wearing cleats, can wrench knees and damage them.
  3. Soccer: Soccer is all about the legs. Legs are going all over the place at high speed and with high impact. There is a lot of stop-and-go, abrupt stops with quick turns. These movements are very hard on the knees, and the risk of injury is extreme. A knee injury can definitely end a soccer career.
  4. Skiing: This sport involves a lot of twisting and turning, perhaps when airborne, and the landing is definitely hard on the knees. Landing incorrectly can mean an instant knee injury.
  5. Gymnastics: This is a sport where you are constantly jumping and then landing on straight or slightly bent knees. Because the landings are so often after twists and flips, the chances of landing on a slightly twisted knee are high.
Knee Illustration Niam Large

Knee Illustration Niam Large

Playing a single sport, and playing it hard, exerts the same muscles constantly. It is easy to overdo it and push past the pain to the point of harm. If you play a sport which is hard on your knees, there are things you can do to prevent injury. Neuromuscular training is part of the rehabilitation after a knee injury, but the exercises can also be done to prevent an injury. The exercises include balance exercises, joint stability exercises, agility exercises, and jump training. Jump landing techniques are taught. Jumping involves much more than the use of your legs. Your arms, legs, and feet all have to work together with your core muscles. Your joints need to bend at specific angles as well. Learning these techniques can greatly lessen the tension put on muscles, ligaments, and tendons as well as help with shock absorption.

Interestingly, women naturally jump in a way that is more likely to cause knee injury. They are more upright when they jump and land. This has the effect of greater impact. Women typically arch their backs more and turn their knees in, which places more stress on the knees. Genetically, females have less muscle mass than men and less strength. Weaknesses can develop muscle memory that enforces incorrect technique with the repercussion of injury. Learning proper form gets rid of these weaknesses and lowers the risk of harm. Watch video of ACL home recovery



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