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Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates

Monday, May 1, 2017

Screening for ACL Injuries

With more and more kids participating in youth sports these days, the risk for injury is climbing higher and higher. ACL injuries are among the most commonly occurring sports injuries in children and adolescents. We see these injuries daily at Texas Orthopedics when the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) snaps or tears rendering the knee joint dysfunctional and causing a great deal of pain.

An ACL injury at such a young age can lead to a number of serious issues later on, including lack of mobility, chronic knee, hip, and back pain, and even obesity.

For this reason, innovative screening programs are being developed to help identify which young athletes may be at greatest risk for an ACL injury. Kids who play sports that involve running, jumping, quick cutting, and pivoting – like basketball, football, and soccer – are the most vulnerable, as are kids who play the same sport across multiple seasons.

Sophisticated 3D imaging has been designed to evaluate movement patterns of an athlete and diagnose current and potential wear and tear to the knee joint and surrounding ligaments.  Through initial screenings, examiners have been able to determine that while some ACL injuries are due to physical contact, the majority of them (up to 70 percent) are non-contact and likely could have been prevented.

As development of the screening technology is still in its early stages, experts agree that taking great measures to prevent an injury before it actually happens is the next best thing to a proactive screening.

The more coaches, athletic trainers, and parents encourage their athletes, and children, to properly stretch and warm up before playing, as well as taking time to rest afterwards, the less chance there is for injury. Many sports organizations and school teams already have dedicated injury prevention programs in place specifically addressing the knee and ACL.

Texas Orthopedics encourages all parents to take an active role in their children’s sports to ensure their utmost safety. If you have any concerns about an ACL, or other youth overuse injury, please contact us for an appointment.

(Courtesy of STOP Sports Injuries)

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