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The Rise of Sports Related Knee Injuries

Jul 26, 2022

Despite increased efforts by sports scientists, doctors, physical therapists, coaches, and trainers, sports-related knee injuries are not decreasing! Let's dive into possible reasons why this is the case. 

 

Bigger, Faster, Stronger

 

One of the first reasons that come to mind is athletes are bigger, faster, and stronger! Especially in college and professional sports, athletes produce more speed and power than ever before. The increased speed and power naturally put greater stress on ligaments, specifically when the knee is put into undesirable positions during sport movements. While it is true that increased balanced leg strength does improve stability in the knee, undesirable positions and non-contact injuries are still happening.  

 

 

Sport Specialization

 

It is also worth noting that many athletes decide to specialize in their best sport (only play one sport) due to increased competition. There are many options to play year-round with travel and AAU teams. One of the problems with only playing one sport is that athletes develop a set of skills specific to that sport's needs. Participating in multiple sports can improve athletes' coordination, motor control, proprioception, speed, and power and promotes a well-balanced/resilient body. Improvements in these areas decrease the risk of injury in athletes. 

 

 

Improper Mechanics

 

The last reason to highlight is improper mechanics with sport-like movements, such as landing, squatting, jumping, and cutting. Proper mechanics are especially important with youth athletes and athletes that are still developing. Injuries increase with poor mechanics, increased load, and undesired stress to the knee due to body positioning. Participating in injury prevention screens and learning correct mechanics with sport-specific movements can significantly help decrease knee injuries. 

 

The Bottom Line: 

 

There will always be knee-related injuries in sports, but we can do our best to prevent them. 

 

  • Encourage athletes to play multiple sports to improve coordination, motor control, proprioception, power, and speed 
  • Put athletes through an injury prevention screen and teach proper mechanics with sport-related movements
  • Work with specialists to correct any muscle imbalances and asymmetries causing undesired stress to the knee 

 

Thanks for Reading! 

 

-Dr. Dan

 


 

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