Although it's a well-known fact that a woman is more likely to suffer an injury to her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), it was not always known why. The reason for this is because women are more likely to land a jump with locked knees, according to recent research by Oregon State University and the University of North Carolina.
The study was published in the Journal of Athletic Training and involved 82 physically active people. Participants were required to perform a jumping task while researchers looked at the way they moved and how they landed.
The best way to land a jump is with knees slightly bent so the body can absorb the force. However, women tend to land with their legs straight, resulting in a harder jam on the knees as they bend in and a 3.6 times greater chance of tearing or injuring the ACL.
The most common sports played by people who suffer ACL injuries include basketball, soccer, tennis and lacrosse. Because they are running so much, they may be twisting their knee or landing on it strangely after jumping.
In order to help yourself prevent injuries or a tear to the ACL, try changing up your landing. The more aware you are about how you're landing, the more careful you'll be. There are drills you can do to help fix your landing and make it safer.
First, you should be watching your knees to see if they dive inward when your feet hit the ground. The goal is to make sure they stay in line with your toes. Second, try to land as soft as possible. This will allow your body to absorb the shock of the landing without putting too much pressure on your knees. Hearing a big thud when you land is a sign that you should bend your knees to give them a little cushion.
ACL injures can be detrimental to women's health, so when trying to master your jump try asking someone else to watch you and observe your landing to make sure you aren't landing knock-kneed to stiff-legged.
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