your knees, girls.
study in Pediatrics, the journal for the American Academy of
Pediatrics, found that anterior cruciate ligament injuries are
on the rise, and girls are more likely to get this injury than
their male friends.
U.S. study, girls playing the same sport as boys are 2.5 to
6.2 times more likely to have an ACL injury than boys. In a
Norwegian study, girls ages 10-19 had a 76 in 100,000 chance
of tearing their ACL; boys in that same age range had a 47 in
100,000 chance of the same injury.
percent of these injuries happen when there is no contact with
another player at all.
you feel a pop in the knee and then see swelling, says Dr.
Randall Schultz, an orthopedic surgeon with Texas Orthopedics.
Sometimes it will hurt; other times, the pain might not be
not something you have to go to the emergency room for, he
says, but you should see a doctor the next day or after the
weekend is over to see whatís going on and what needs to be
done. In the meantime, put ice on it and use crutches to try
to stay off it, Schultz says.
where kids stop suddenly and turn a different direction
usually are the common offenders: soccer, gymnastics,
volleyball and basketball. Boys also saw problems in football.
Locally, doctors see all of these, plus cheerleading and
goes up for girls once they hit age 12 or 13 and for boys
around age 14 or 15. Why? Puberty. This is the time when kids
grow faster and their bodies canít always keep up, which is
especially true in the legís tibia and femur bones. For
girls, hormones also make the ligaments more lax. In boys, the
testosterone surge actually helps them increase muscular power
and control, allowing them to handle the rapid skeletal growth
number of kids with ACL injuries is on the rise because more
kids are focusing on one sport intensely all year with few
breaks. This is very different from the old habit of kids
playing a variety of sports with time off in between seasons.
treatment now is also different. It used to be that you would
keep the knee immobile, but now ACL tears require surgery to
replace them. After the surgery, athletes usually have six
months of rehabilitation exercises before they can return to
injury can have long-lasting effects, however. Athletes who
had an ACL injury are 10 times more likely to have early-onset
degenerative knee osteoarthritis than those who never had an
have daughters that play sports. Iím worried about it,"
of athletes older than 18 with an ACL injury found that only
about half returned to the level of performance they had
achieved before the injury.
have an ACL injury, you also are 15 percent more likely to
have another, a study showed.
does all this research mean to you, Mom and Dad, and to your
daughters (and sons).
choosing sports programs with an athletic trainer who is
leading kids through knee-saving exercises.
Thoresen, the director of rehabilitation services of Texas
Orthopedics, says prevention is all about strengthening the
knees. Itís about doing exercises that are going to
strengthen the hips, quads, hamstrings and glutes as well as
build core strength. Pilates is great for that, she says.
also recommends that kids who are active in sports see a
physical therapist or trainer before an injury happens. The
professional will look at how kids jump and and how much
control they have with their muscles. Itís good to get a
baseline and identify areas of weakness. Trainers or
therapists will them show them how to do exercises to
strengthen those weak areas.
you can download exercise videos, you want to make sure a
professional sees how your kid is doing those exercises to
also should get realistic about how much sports kids are
doing. Kids should have days off and be doing different
activities. If your child is doing the same sport all year,
she is overusing some muscles and not strengthening others.
too much," Thoresen says. "They are not ready for