Health Beat with Dr. Alicia Arnold: ACL Injuries

Courtney: We hear about ACL injuries in the knees of professional athletes, but statistics show that they are becoming more and more common in kids. Today we are going to be talking about these injuries and the risk to children. What is the ACL?

Dr. Arnold: ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament. It connects the thighbone to the shinbone in the knee joint and helps stabilize the knee.

Courtney: Why are these injuries becoming more common?

Dr. Arnold: More kids are playing sports, and they are starting intensive training at younger ages. ACL tears are also being diagnosed more often due to increased awareness and diagnostic tests such as MRI.

Courtney: Which kids are more likely to get these injuries?

Dr. Arnold: ACL injuries are uncommon in young kids, but the rates increase dramatically during puberty. Girls have higher rates of noncontact ACL injuries than boys for similar sports. Football, basketball, soccer, and gymnastics are some of the more common sports where these injuries occur.

Courtney: How do these ACL tears affect the child’s health in the future?

Dr. Arnold: Besides missing school and sports for treatment of the injury, as well as the financial cost of care, ACL tears can have significant impact years later. The risk of early onset degenerative arthritis of the knee is up to 10 times greater for people with a previous ACL tear. Arthritis can cause pain and disability.

Courtney: What if the child has reconstructive surgery?

Dr. Arnold: Even after surgery, the increased risk of arthritis still exists. The risk for future ACL injuries is also higher, once you’ve already had a previous ACL tear.

Young female athletes in jumping, pivoting, and collision sports are at higher risk. Neuromuscular training programs have been shown to help reduce the risk of injury in these young women. They are a series of exercises to strengthen key muscles that protect knees before an injury occurs. Basically the idea is to “pre-program” safer movement patterns to reduce the risk of injury. Current data suggests that just wearing a brace is unlikely to reduce the risk of ACL injury.


The comment sections of our web set are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from the viewers but we are not obligated to post comments we feel inappropriate or violate our guidelines. Here are some of the criteria you should follow when posting comments:

Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. Children and families visit this site. We will delete comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.

We will delete all comments using hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our web site.

Comments should not attack other readers personally.

We will delete comments we deem offensive, in bad taste, or out of bounds. We are not obligated to post comments that are rude or insensitive.

We do not edit user-submitted comments.

As a host WEAU 13 News welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However, we have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason WEAU 13 News reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.
powered by Disqus
WEAU 13 NEWS 1907 S. Hastings Way Eau Claire, WI 54701 By Phone: Main Number (715) 835-1313 and (715) 832-3474. Tip Line (715) 839-WEAU - (715) 839-9328 Sports Line (715) 852-1537
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 257939921 - weau.com/a?a=257939921
Gray Television, Inc.