Today blog post is written by Peak Performance Intern Killian Barry. Killian is an graduating MSU senior in Kinesiology.

As participation in sports becomes more popular, the amount of injuries also increases. Parents are enrolling their children in organized sports at a much younger age than was previously popular. With the increased number of hours kids will have played their sport by high school comes more chances of exposure to injury (Noyes, 2014). This is one of the reasons why there has been quite a spike in ACL tears in recent years. Female players have a much higher prevalence of this injury than males, especially females that play basketball and soccer. This information caught my attention since these are the two main sports I’ve played throughout my life.

Females tend to have a higher rate of ACL tears for a number of reasons. The first is that they have wider hips than males. The larger angle between a woman’s hip and knee can cause problems with knee stability when performing specific movements. These movements can include cutting, landing from a jump, change of direction, or rapid deceleration. Another issue that girls have is that they usually have muscular imbalances. The quads and hamstrings play a major role in many movements (Noyes, 2014). These two muscles should be equally as strong in order to avoid injury. This is not the case for the majority of girls though. Most females have much stronger quads than hamstrings. On top of this, the majority of athletes have a dominate side of the body that they tend to favor (Dawson). This contributes to muscle imbalance in the legs. Many females also lack an adequate amount of core strength. The lack of strength and stability in their mid section can cause them problems when trying to right their body during movements (Dawson).

Jumping exercises would help the athlete practice the correct landing, keeping their knee from completely extending. The stretches at the end of the program should target the calf, hamstring, quad, hip flexors and inner thigh. They will help improve range of motion, reduce injury and soreness (Santa Monica Sports Medicine).

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