House Calls

WIN 2018

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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A Few More Fast ACL Facts The latest stats about the debilitating injury 12 { winter 2018 } h o u s e c a l l s for the family Weak in the Knees Statistics show that ACL tears are more common than ever. Read on to learn how they occur as well as steps you and your family can take to ward off the dreaded injury – B Y S A M A N T H A C O N N O R S Keep 'Em Moving! Though ACL injuries are spontaneous and often unpreventable, there are ways to reduce your odds of encountering the ailment. Here, Dr. Caldwell shares tips: Strength train. "Strong core and lower body muscles support the knees and can help protect you from an ACL injury," he says. He notes that the core includes more than just your abdominals— "strengthening your glutes and lower back is important, too." Warm up. Never skip a pre-game warm up, which gets blood pumping to your muscles and joints, minimizing your risk for injury. Mind your step. Aim to always jump, stop, step, and pivot with your knees directly over your feet, says Dr. Caldwell. "Trying to be conscious of inward collapse of your knees can help." 4 Eat fruits and veggies. Though no specific foods or supplements can ward off ACL tears, across the board, eating a nutritious diet high in muscle- boosting vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, vitamin C, and omega-3s can help you avoid injuries of any sort. O f all the injuries that plague athletes, one of the most infamous is the ACL tear. And its bad rap is fair: the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine estimates that 150,000 ACL injuries are reported each year, and a 2017 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found a 2.3 percent annual increase in them among school-aged children and adolescents over the last 20 years. "A tear in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the most common knee injuries," confirms Roper St. Francis orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kenny Caldwell. The anterior cruciate is a ligament (or a fibrous connective tissue that binds bones or cartilage together) that provides mobility and stabil- ity to the knee. "The ACL controls the knee's rotation as it moves from flexion to extension," explains Dr. Caldwell. When the ACL has increased tension on it as the knee is twisting—like during a side-step, pivot, or single-leg landing—it can tear, resulting in symptoms like a popping sensation, swelling, and knee pain and instability. Statistics show that females are more prone to ACL tears than males. "That's partially due to anatomy— females generally have a wider pelvis than males—but also because they can have more trouble generating and maintaining core strength," says Dr. Caldwell. "To combat this, there's am emphasis today on strength training the lower limbs and the core, particularly among female athletes." Some people can recover from an ACL tear by undergoing physical therapy and wearing a brace; other cases require reconstructive surgery. Across the board, recovery takes between six months and a year—and for those who play sports, it can take even longer to regain the same strength and stamina as before they were sidelined. "That said, if people are diligent with rehab and rebuilding strength, the majority can return to unrestricted sporting activities," says Dr. Caldwell. • According to the National Institutes of Health, young women are two to eight times more likely than young men to injure their ACL. • The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons cites that roughly 70 percent of ACL injuries in athletes occur through moves such as pivoting, cutting, sidestepping, out of control play, or awkward landings, while about 30 percent result from contact with other players. • Those who have had ACL surgery are up to six times more likely to reinjure the ACL, found the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine. P H O T O G R A P H S ( S T R E T C H E S ) B Y C O C O A R A E D A V I S

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