Saturday, January 7, 2012

ACL and MCL Muscles Stretches

Injuries of the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, and medial collateral ligament, or MCL, are common in all athletes participating in contact sports. Females are especially prone to ACL tears, as their wider pelvis makes rotational forces on the knee more pronounced. Proper warm-up, cool-down and core strengthening protocols are shown to reduce the incidence of injuries to the knee joint in both male and female athletes.
ACL and MCL Stability
The ACL runs behind the patella, also called the kneecap. The ACL works with the patellar tendon to stabilize the knee when the joint flexes. ACLs are subjected to rotational forces when you change direction or collide with another player. The MCL keeps the knee joint stable when the leg is extended and your center of balance changes. It is possible that both the ACL and MCL can suffer damage during collisions with other players.
PEP Warm-Up
The Santa Monica Sports Medicine Foundation has developed a series of warm-up movements and stretches designed to reduce ACL injuries. The warm up is done on the playing field, with the entire team participating. It starts by warming up the body with jogging, dynamic stretch movements like walking lunges, hopping and seated stretches of the hips. The warm-up takes 20 minutes before the start of practice.
During the Game
It is important for athletes to remain warm if they are coming off the bench. When players will come in to substitute, running in place for one minute, riding an exercise bike as seen during football matches and jumping rope are all effective ways to keep the legs and cardiovascular system primed. For kids under 12, jumping jacks for 30 seconds are an effective sideline interval.
Post-Match Cool Down
Equally important to the warm up and game activity is a proper cool down. Perform static stretches for calves, hips, quads and hamstrings. If the total duration of activity was more than 60 minutes, a 5- or 10-minute cold water soak reduces overall muscle inflammation. Locally ice tender spots and bruises on the knees.

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