What athlete wouldn’t like to reduce their injuries and extend their career? Does the name Dara Torres ring any bells?
It may be as simple as PEPping up your workouts if recent evidence is any indicator. Recent research indicates that specific exercise training can help reduce the risk of injuries in female athletes, specifically tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which is a common knee injury in athletes that participate in sports such as soccer or basketball. The ACL is crucial for stability of the knee joint during activities such as jumping and quick changes in direction. Injuries to the ACL often require surgery and extensive physical therapy, so they are usually season-ending. Studies show that females may be four times as likely to suffer an ACL injury compared to males competing in the same sports. This is due in part to a difference in the way that men and women contract the muscles around the knee, along with structural variations in the knee between the two genders.
Specialized exercise programs such as the Prevent Injury, Enhance Performance (PEP) program , typically conducted by a physical therapist, involve a combination of stretching, strengthening, agility, and jumping. This program emphasizes learning and using proper mechanics of the body to avoid compensation movements that could later cause injury. Through practice, good movement patterns are reinforced so the brain later recognizes them as normal, automatic movements. A study recently published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine showed that a group of female athletes performing the PEP program demonstrated a 41 percent lower rate of ACL injury compared to those doing a regular warm-up.
Medical News Today has published an overview of the study along with an endorsement by the the American Physical Therapy Association which concurs with the study’s findings that a specialized program such as PEP could lower the overall ACL injury rate among female athletes.
We are experts working with Athletes! If you are interested in participating in sports at the highest level possible, contact Belmar Physical Therapy to find out how we can help you add PEP to your training program to boost performance and prevent season ending injuries. Contact us here >>