By Chris Dellasega, MS, CSCS, PICP 2, BioSig 1 & Patrick Moodie, MS Posted: October 20, 2012 - 10:55 PM Share
The most commonly injured ligament in the body is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee. A torn ACL is usually the result of an athlete rotating their hips at the wrong moment while planting their foot, which multiplies the forces on the ACL, especially if the muscles surrounding the knee are weak. In his book Evidence-Based Orthopaedics: The Best Answers to Clinical Questions by Dr. James G. Wright states that “more than 100,000 ACL reconstructions are performed annually in the United States, costing in excess of $2 billion.”
The cost for ACL reconstruction surgery can be between $20,000-$50,000 for individuals without health insurance. The out-of-pocket cost for someone with insurance can still be between $800-$3,000 or more. With the right testing and appropriate training these injuries can be dramatically reduced.
There have been many different types of intervention programs to decrease ACL injuries. These programs focus on influencing the neuromuscular kinetic chain (the brain’s ability to control the muscles responsible for specific movements) through awareness, strengthening, flexibility, agility, proprioceptive and plyometric training in order to reduce the risk of injury. Dynamic Athletics takes ACL intervention programs to the next level.
Dynamic Athletics utilizes marker-less motion capture technology to track power, strength, flexibility, agility, proprioception and biomechanics during sport specific movements. Many ACL injuries occur when an athlete is planting and/or cutting, rotating when landing from a jump or 1-step stopping with an extended knee. We have the ability to measure how much force the knee is subject to during each of these movements.
Our knee report collects precise data on knee flexion/extension, Q angle (the angle of the femur, or thigh bone, in relation to the hip) rotations about the knee between the femur and tibia (one of the shin bones), as well as how much force and torque the knee is under during sport specific movements. Collectively, these variables all affect knee joint integrity.
This approach allows us to understand exactly how dynamic the knee is during athletic movements. Understanding these forces allows us to create customized training plans on exactly how to train to avoid injury. Each athlete’s limitations are unique and his training should reflect that. The data that we are able to collect displays the uniqueness of each athlete’s limitations and enables us to accurately predict high-risk athletes. With this data we are then able to implement the appropriate ACL intervention program.
Aside from guiding an athletes training program to prevent knee injuries, if an athlete has already sustained a knee injury we can still provide valuable information. By tracking an athlete’s progression through rehabilitation we can accurately advise an athlete on when they are ready to return to play. When an injury occurs the body will compensate for that injury in other areas of the body and these compensations often lead to additional injuries. By tracking an athlete through the rehab process we are able to catch these compensations and adjust the athlete’s training program to rebalance those compensations.
Using a one-size-fits-all approach when training for injury prevention, or when rehabbing from an injury, is limited in its effectiveness. With the right testing and appropriate training ACL injuries can be dramatically reduced. Our ACL prevention/rehabilitation program will ensure an athlete is ready to return to play and keep them on the field longer.