Specialized Warm-Up May Reduce Girls' Knee Injuries
A recent study shows that teams who practiced knee warm-up exercises in the form of 'neuromuscular' training had lower injury rate. Neuromuscular warm-ups may specifically reduce knee injuries among female high school athletes.
In neuromuscular knee warm-up exercises, an athlete begins with easy cardiovascular exercise and progresses to focusing on muscles and motions used in the sport.
The study included 90 coaches and almost 1,500 female basketball and soccer players from public schools in Chicago. Half the coaches were trained in 20-minute neuromuscular knee warm-up exercises and used that method with their teams (intervention group) before practices and games, while the other coaches and their teams used current standard warm-up methods (control group).
Damage to the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) of the knee, which is far more common among females than males, is a major concern, said Dr. Victor Khabie, co-chief of the Orthopedic and Spine Institute at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y. Females may be more susceptible because of the way they land after a jump, he said.
"Females tend to land with their knees more hyper-extended and somewhat knock-kneed, which theoretically places a great deal of tension on the ACL, leading to tears," he said.
Khabie said he suspects that the neuromuscular knee warm-up exercises "train" female athletes how to jump and land with "better biomechanics," thus reducing the risk of an ACL tear.
"More widespread use of this warm-up protocol should be considered by coaches and trainers working to help prevent serious knee injuries of female athletes," Khabie said.
To learn more about knee warm-up exercises and how they may be beneficial to you call us at 914.666.1499.
Visit our knee services page for information on other knee-related treatment provided at NWH.
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