Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Study Spotlight: Hip Strength Predicts Non-contact ACL Injury in Athletes-A Prospective Study

By: Joel Luedke

ACL injuries are one of many nightmares that athletes might have.  They are season ending and take a lot of time and effort to return from.  Some you cannot prevent, the contact ones, that someone barrels into you and there is nothing you can do.  Others though, the non-contact ones, can be and should be preventable.  There are many options to go to out there for 'ACL Prevention Programs' and you can spend as much money as you want to try them out but it all comes back to is really good fundamental training.

This Study Spotlight talks about hip strength and injury risk and how it is correlated.

What They Did:
Prior to the competitive season isometric (limb held in place against resistance) strength was measured for both external rotation (rotating hip out) and abduction (moving leg to outside) of the hip of 501 athletes.  During the sport season contact vs. non-contact ACL injuries were tracked for the tested individuals.

What They Found:
There were a total of 15 non-contact ACL injuries with an overall incidence of 3.0% (2.5% for males and 4.3% for females).  Use a bunch of statistics they found that impaired hip strength in external rotation and abduction independently increased future injury risk.

What It All Means:
The conclusion of this study suggests that you should include an assessment of isometric hip abduction and/or external rotation strength prior to training or the competitive season.  This is one option when it comes to testing out the potential of injury.  This can also be a lot of extra effort depending on the work situation you are in.  

Focusing on training these motions is the bottom line of this.  As we mentioned above the best ACL prevention program is good training prior to practicing and competition.  If you are performing large movements correctly (i.e. squats, deadlifts, RDLs, pull progressions) you are going to have a good baseline of strength in these muscles.  You can also add in complimentary exercises to address muscles specifically to add even more strength to the area.

Make sure you are training these areas properly and especially if you sit all day to decrease your non-contact ACL risk.

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