Preventing ACL Tears

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four major knee ligaments. The ACL is critical at helping to prevent instability episodes of the knee. Injuries to the ACL can be devastating, and may require surgery and a prolonged rehabilitation. Rates of ACL tears are especially high in women; about 8 times as frequent when compared to men.

ACL prevention has been the focus of many researchers in the past decade. Understanding how to prevent ACL tears requires an understanding of why some groups of people are more prone to sustaining ACL tears than others. Women have been shown to have a much higher risk of developing an ACL tear, and research has focused on answering the question as to why they have a high risk.

Why do women have a higher risk of ACL injury?

  • Anatomic Differences
    There are many anatomic differences between men and women, including pelvis width, size of the ACL, and size of the intercondylar notch (where the ACL crosses the knee joint). Limited studies have shown a difference in these factors, but not an ability to predict individuals who will sustain an ACL tear.
  • Hormonal Differences
    It is known that the ACL has hormone receptors for estrogen and progesterone, and it has been thought that hormone concentration could play a role in ACL injuries. Studies have shown some differences in rates of ACL injury during different phases of the menstrual cycle. However, there has been some conflicting data, and the effect of hormone concentration on ACL injury risk has yet to be defined.
  • Biomechanic Differences
    Stability of the knee is dependent on different factors. The two most important are the static and the dynamic stabilizers of the knee. The static stabilizers are the major ligaments of the knee, including the ACL. The dynamic stabilizers of the knee are the muscles and tendons that surround the joint. Women have been found to have differences in biomechanic movements of the knee seen when pivoting, jumping, and landing — activities that often lead to an ACL injury.

What can be done to prevent ACL injuries?

The best way found to reduce the risk of ACL injury is with the use of neuromuscular training programs. As stated above, the dynamic stabilizers of the knee are important in helping to control knee stability. Neuromuscular training is the process of teaching your body better biomechanic movements and improved control of these dynamic stabilizers. This is an unconscious process — not something you can choose to do. However, there are ways to teach your body to have better unconscious neuromuscular control.

Neuromuscular programs have been designed to address deficits in dynamic stabilization of the knee. There are several neuromuscular programs that have been designed, most of which involve stretching, plyometrics, and strengthening. These programs “teach” the athlete how to land from a jumping position, pivot side-to-side, and move the knee without placing as much force on the ACL.


More Proof That Mondays Are Terrible

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]More Proof That Mondays Are Terrible: It’s the Most Common Day for Workplace Injuries!

The one thing all of humankind has in common — besides the sandwich — is a shared hatred for Mondays, because obviously, they’re just the worst in general. But it also turns out Monday is the day when the most workplace injuries occur.

According to the annual report on “nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses” by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 167,000 workplace injuries took place on Mondays in 2013 — more than any other day of the week. And this is not a new trend, as FiveThiryEight points out. Monday has consistently been the most injury-prone day for the past several years. And while there’s no explicit correlation between the day and the numbers, we still have one main takeaway: Ban Mondays!

Out of the 10 most common injuries on the job, the majority are those random incidents that can happen to anyone and at any time. Not only is it the employer’s responsibility to ensure a safe work environment, each employee also has a responsibility to themselves to take caution when on the job.

Here are the top 10 reported worker’s compensation injuries as listed by top insurance companies around the country:

10. On the Job Violent Acts – Attacks caused by office politics and other arguments have led to serious physical injuries. Workplace violence employee training and employee diligence in watching out for suspicious activities can help keep these incidents at bay

9. Repetitive Motion Injuries – This type of workplace injury is one of those less obvious but definitely harmful ones in the long run. Repetitive motions such as typing and using the computer 24/7 can strain muscles and tendons causing back pain, vision problems, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Employee training and the use of proper ergonomic equipment can help keep these incidents low.

8. Machine Entanglement – This type of injury usually occurs in a factory where heavy equipment and machinery are used. Clothing, shoes, fingers and hair are by everyday equipment when no precaution is taken. Protective equipment and attention to personal details are necessary to avoid these incidents.

7. Vehicle Accidents – Employees who drive for business purposes are often injured in auto accidents, some of which can be fatal.  Employee Safe-Driver training and employer safe driving policies are likely to reduce accidents.

6. Walking Into Injuries – This happens when a person accidentally runs into concrete objects such as walls, doors, cabinets, glass windows, table, chairs etc. Head, knee, neck, and foot injuries are common results. Employee’s diligence and employer focus on keeping the work environment free from hazards are key to preventing these types of injuries.

5. Falling Object Injuries – Objects that fall from shelves or dropped by another person can cause very serious injuries. Head injuries are a common result of this type of accident. Employee’s diligence and employer focus on keeping the work environment free from hazards are key to preventing these types of injuries.  Of course, proper personal protection gear usage, such as a hard hat, can be instrumental in keeping the employee safe.

4. Reaction Injuries – These are injuries caused by slipping and tripping without falling.  These incidents can cause muscle injuries, body trauma, and a variety of other medical issues. It can be hard to prevent such incidents but it is important for employees to pay attention to what is going on in the environment around them.

3. Falling from Heights – This type of fall happens from an elevated area such as roofs, ladders, and stairways.  They can be caused by slip and fall accidents or due to faulty equipment.  These types of accidents can be reduced by the use of proper personal protection gear, training and employee diligence.

2. Slipping/Tripping – The number 2 cause of workplace injuries, this pertains to falls on wet and slippery floors or trips over something lying on the floor. Attention to what is going on around them is required of employees and employers will have safety guidelines to ensure spills are promptly cleaned and no debris is present which can be dangerous.

1. Overexertion Injuries – This includes injuries related to pulling, lifting, pushing, holding, carrying, and throwing activities at work. Overexertion not only consistently been the  number one workplace injury according but is also the most expensive.  According to the 2008 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, overexertion incidents account for $3.4 million in benefit costs annually.

Training, diligence and proper safety equipment are instrumental elements to reducing workplace accidents and injuries but when it comes to bringing workers home safe, it is not enough.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Weekend Warriors: Prevent Injuries

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Are you a weekend warrior? You are if your work and family demands keep you from exercising on a regular basis, so you make up for it by going “all out” on the weekends. But that Saturday morning pickup basketball game, football game or boot camp can leave you with aches and pains – or worse yet, a serious injury.

Each day, more than 10,000 Americans visit emergency rooms for sports and exercise-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts say weekend-warrior injuries are most common among formerly active men over age 30 whose weekend activities can be described as “too much, too fast, too far.” Even men who consider themselves in fairly good shape and take part in a highly-charged soccer game can end up with weekend-warrior injuries.

If you don’t exercise on a regular basis and you’re not conditioned for a particular sport or activity, you put yourself at risk for injury.

Regular exercise offers these important benefits:
• Keeps your weight under control, which reduces stress on your joints, especially your hips and knees.
• Maintains your muscle strength to help prevent arthritis and keep your joints flexible and protect them from damage.
• Releases endorphins, which act as your body’s natural pain medication.

According to the National Institutes of Health, weekend-warrior injuries can occur for a variety of reasons, including poor physical conditioning and flexibility, failure to warm up and stretch muscles, competition intensity, participation in collision and contact sports and overuse of joints.

The most common injuries include sprains, strains, fractures, dislocation and inflammation. That means the orthopedic surgeons at TOCA see many patients with sprained ankles, shin splints, rotator cuff injuries, Achilles tendonitis, lower back pain, plantar fasciitis (heel pain) and knee pain.

The knee is at high risk for injury because of its complexity and the enormous amount of force it absorbs and stress it takes. Knee injuries often result from a blow to the knee, twisting or turning or an improper landing

The risk of injury does not mean you shouldn’t be active, though, and avoiding these injuries requires some common-sense prevention.

• Exercise regularly and include a variety of cardiovascular activity, stretching and weightlifting in your routine. Cross-training helps to prevent overuse injuries, which develop from constantly using the same muscles and tendons.
• Warm up and stretch to help prevent sprains.
• Gradually increase your activity level – and intensity level – on a week-to-week basis.
• Use proper technique.
• Use proper gear and safety equipment.
• Listen to your body. The “no pain, no gain” theory is not a good mantra.

Stop when you are fatigued. Muscle fatigue takes away your protective mechanisms and increases your risk of injury. And if you feel sharp or stabbing pain, stop exercising immediately.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

TOCA Tempe Physical Therapy: Sun Devil Classic Bike Event

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”″ align=”center” css=”.vc_custom_1465251666441{margin-bottom: 1.5em !important;}”][vc_column_text]TOCA ( The Orthopedic Clinic Association) supports the local bicycle racing community in Tempe, AZ during the Sun Devil Classic (Strada Racing Club & ASU Cycling), providing stretches and education to racers for injury prevention.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]