Whether you are a conditioned athlete, fitness enthusiast or weekend warrior, the last injury you would like to be diagnosed with is a torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament). It is one of four major ligaments of the knee and its main purpose is to prevent forward translation of the tibia (leg) on the femur (thigh).
Recovery from this surgery is a long and arduous task, which can be as mentally taxing as well as physical. The process can take 6-12 months depending on your activity of choice post-surgery.
There are multiple ways that the ACL can be compromised. Most ACL injuries are common in sports that require a sudden change in direction. An underlying issue that could predispose an individual to an ACL injury is alignment and deconditioned hips. Hip strength and mobility is crucial to the health of your lower body. Hips and ankles are two of the most mobile joints in the body, the knee is not. So, being that the knee is in between the two it can be stressed at different times especially if the hip and ankles are misaligned.
ACL tears are more likely in female athletes versus male athletes. There are many reasons for this—hormonal changes, wider pelvis, increased Q angle (angle of pelvis to knee), and a greater discrepancy in strength.
Valgus knee alignment upon landing (knees closer together than hips and feet) is another circumstance that can result in an ACL tear. This can be tested by having the athlete perform a simple squat (no weight). If the knees collapse inward as the depth increases this would be a red flag. Also, twisting motions can result in injury.
So, make sure to incorporate hip strengthening and mobility into your workouts to reduce the risk.