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The Female Knee Creates the MVP (Most Vulnerable Player) Anastasia N. Fischer, MD Nationwide Children’s Hospital Dept. of Sports Medicine.

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Presentation on theme: "The Female Knee Creates the MVP (Most Vulnerable Player) Anastasia N. Fischer, MD Nationwide Children’s Hospital Dept. of Sports Medicine."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Female Knee Creates the MVP (Most Vulnerable Player) Anastasia N. Fischer, MD Nationwide Children’s Hospital Dept. of Sports Medicine

2 What we’ll cover today…  ACL tears are a relatively common injury in female sports  Girls are more prone to ACL tears than boys  Why?  What can we do about it?

3 ACL Injuries in Girls  38,000 estimated female ACL injuries each year Estimated 2,200 at the collegiate level Estimated 2,200 at the collegiate level May be 4 times as high at HS level (8000-9000!!) May be 4 times as high at HS level (8000-9000!!)

4 ACL Injuries in Girls  Increased Participation in sports (Title IX) Female basketball players are 2x more likely to suffer an ACL tear than their male counterparts Female basketball players are 2x more likely to suffer an ACL tear than their male counterparts Female soccer players are 4x more likely to suffer an ACL tear than their male counterparts Female soccer players are 4x more likely to suffer an ACL tear than their male counterparts

5 Why? Theories To Explain Gender Differences  Anatomical Differences  Biomechanical Factors  Hormonal Influences  Neuromuscular Differences

6 Anatomic Differences  Women tend to have a more “knock-kneed” leg alignment  The femoral notch, in women tends to be narrower

7 Biomechanical Differences  Compared with men, women: Have less muscle mass Have less muscle mass Are slower at the rate of muscle force development (ms) Are slower at the rate of muscle force development (ms) Have a stronger, quicker reacting quadriceps relative to hamstrings Have a stronger, quicker reacting quadriceps relative to hamstrings Tend to be more upright when landing Tend to be more upright when landing Tend to be “quad dominant” Tend to be “quad dominant”

8 Hormonal Influences?  Increased risk of ACL tears during ovulatory phase of menstrual cycle  Decreased risk of ACL tear during follicular phase of menstrual cycle  Recent studies are conflicting, these results are not widely supported…

9 Neuromuscular Differences  Ligament Dominance Knee ligaments rather than knee muscles absorb the landing forces during sports maneuvers Knee ligaments rather than knee muscles absorb the landing forces during sports maneuvers  Quadriceps Dominance Quads react more quickly to forces than the hamstrings Quads react more quickly to forces than the hamstrings  Leg Dominance The non-dominant knee is at greater risk because it’s weaker The non-dominant knee is at greater risk because it’s weaker

10 What does this all boil down to?  4 out of 5 ACL injuries occur from a non- contact mechanism - very often during deceleration activities, (i.e. landing from a jump or planting and cutting) and are due to being in the “position of no return”

11 Biomechanics

12 Biomechanics

13 How Can The Incidence of ACL Injuries Be Reduced?  ACL injury prevention programs have demonstrated a reduction in the rate of ACL injuries in 14-18 year old girls by 74-83%!! Helping to change the position of the knee when landing or cutting and pivoting Helping to change the position of the knee when landing or cutting and pivoting Decreasing landing forces on the knee when landing from a jump Decreasing landing forces on the knee when landing from a jump

14 Strategies to Avoid Injury Avoid vulnerable positions Avoid vulnerable positions Increase flexibility Increase flexibility Increase strength Increase strength Increase balance through agility training Increase balance through agility training Include sports specific exercises into the training program Include sports specific exercises into the training program

15 Injury Prevention Protocol  A 3 phase program done three days / week beginning six to eight weeks prior to the season Technique phase: teach proper jump technique - Learn to “stick and hold” landings Technique phase: teach proper jump technique - Learn to “stick and hold” landings Fundamental phase: continue to build strength, power and agility Fundamental phase: continue to build strength, power and agility Performance phase: focus on increasing maximum vertical jump height and sports specific training Performance phase: focus on increasing maximum vertical jump height and sports specific training

16 Technique Phase  At the start – proper landing form must be reinforced  The athletes should be taught to land on the balls of the feet with the knees flexed and the chest over the knees  Verbal cues: Sit back Land soft – toes-> heels Legs are shock absorbers (instant recoil for next jump)

17 Technique Phase  Focus in this phase must be on perfecting the technique of each exercise  Athletes need immediate feedback Wall jumps Wall jumps Squat jumps Squat jumps Broad jump and hold Broad jump and hold

18 Fundamental Phase  Training should focus on strength and balance  Exercises should include dynamic, multi-planar, sport- specific movements that are a challenge to the proprioceptive system

19 Fundamental Phase  Strength exercises must also include the core Critical for body control Critical for body control  Progression must be slow and methodical with enough recovery time  Balance activities should be progressive Single leg passing (bounce -> chest -> OH) Single leg passing (bounce -> chest -> OH) Single leg woodchops Single leg woodchops Multidirectional lunges Multidirectional lunges Single leg jump and hold Single leg jump and hold Power skipping Power skipping

20 Performance Phase  Practical application: Training skills should expose the athlete to movement patterns that generate greater dynamic knee control Training skills should expose the athlete to movement patterns that generate greater dynamic knee control Agility drills should be progressed when the athletes can maintain good static body control Agility drills should be progressed when the athletes can maintain good static body control

21 Performance Phase  Exercises should progress from previous phases and should now focus on power and agility  Power drills include advanced plyometrics and explosive movements 180 Deg jumps 180 Deg jumps Barrier hops Barrier hops Scissor jumps Scissor jumps Power skipping –> maximize height Power skipping –> maximize height Box drop jumps –> plant and turn Box drop jumps –> plant and turn Medicine ball vertical throws Medicine ball vertical throws

22 Injury Prevention Protocol  Optimally, after the training program, the program should be performed at least 2-3 times per week during the season Program consists of a warm-up, stretching, strengthening, plyometrics, and sport specific agilities Program consists of a warm-up, stretching, strengthening, plyometrics, and sport specific agilities The coaches and athletic trainers need to emphasize correct posture, straight up and down jumps without excessive side-to-side movement, and reinforce soft landings The coaches and athletic trainers need to emphasize correct posture, straight up and down jumps without excessive side-to-side movement, and reinforce soft landings

23 Preventative Training Programs  Nationwide Children’s Sports Medicine’s “Personal Best Injury Prevention Programs” ACL Bootcamp ACL Bootcamp Shoulder Stability/Throwing Program Shoulder Stability/Throwing Program LEAPS and BOUNDS LEAPS and BOUNDS  Age appropriate specific to their developmental level  Sport specific Basketball Basketball Soccer Soccer Baseball/Softball Baseball/Softball Volleyball Volleyball

24 Conclusion  The research and development of training programs to prevent ACL injuries is evolving rapidly  More attention needs to be placed on implementing these programs to younger athletes during their developmental years

25 References  Gilchrist J, etal. A Randomized Controlled Trial to Prevent NoncontactAnterior Cruciate Ligament Injury in Female Collegiate Soccer Players. Am J Sports Med. 2008;36(8):1476-1483.  Meyer GD, Ford KR, Hewett TE. Rationale and Clinical techniques for Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Prevention Among Female Athletes. Journal of Athletic Training. 2004;39:352-363.  Mandelbaum BR, Silvers HJ, et al. Effectiveness of a Neuromuscular and Proprioceptive Training Program in Preventing Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries on Female Athletes. Am J Sports Med. 2005;33:1003-1010.  Olsen OE, Myklebust, et al. Exercises to Prevent Lower Limb Injuries in Youth Sports: Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. British Medical Journal. 2005;330:449-452.


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