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Doctors reporting an increase in ACL injuries among female athletes

ACL Tears
Posted at 9:54 AM, Jul 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-27 09:54:54-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. — With the Women's World Cup in full swing, we're hoping no player leaves the field with a major injury, but back here at home, experts are noting an increase an ACL injuries among female athletes.

“You're anterior cruciate ligament, ACL, is a ligament that connects both the shin bone to the femur," said Sparrow Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Director Michael Shingles. "It's mainly to prevent translation of those two bones at the knee joint. It’s one of the major ligaments for stability of the knee.”

Dr. Shingles said an ACL injury can occur when someone makes a sudden cut or pivot causing the knee to suddenly shift, tearing the ACL. He said injuries are most common in non-contact women's sports like soccer and basketball.

“Females are, depending on the study, up to six to eight times more likely to tear their ACL than their male counterparts in their sports,” Shingles said.

But Shingles said there are ways to try and properly train your body to avoid an ACL tear.

“You should be spending time on protecting your ACL by doing jumping and landing programs and having an athletic trainer, somebody that knows what they're looking for, help make sure you have good mechanics,” Shingles said.

For those who do tear their ACL, many have the option to get surgery to repair the ligament and get them back to playing their sport.

“Usually, I try and get my athletes back by six months, that's very reasonable," Shingles said. "That's what I would call quick recovery. People are looking at nine months to a year sometimes for these. What's better is to get our athletes back safely and not reoccurring."

While tearing an ACL is a season ending injury, it's not a career ending injury according to Shingles. He said he understands it can be discouraging for athletes who have never taken time off of their sport, but it's important to heal properly before playing again.

“I know this is the worst thing you can imagine, but we got to get you better, and you can't take six months feeling bad about it," Shingles said. "You got to get right back on it, you got to do the exercise because if you want to get back in six months, you got to get the straight for the motion back, and that's gonna take all six months. If you take a couple months off, it's going to take nine months, if it takes six months off, it's gonna take years and sometimes you won't come back from it. So, it's difficult, but it at least gives you some direction on what you need to do to get back to your sport.”

The Sparrow Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Office in East Lansing offers walk-in injury clinics as sports begin to resume this fall. The clinics are every Saturday from 8-11 a.m. starting Aug. 12. No appointment or referral is needed.

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Mikayla Temple

Mikayla Temple

1:39 PM, Jan 05, 2021

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Mikayla Temple

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