Sports injuries happen to everyone – and we usually recover eventually. But sometimes the risk of reinjury increases, months of hard work is lost to rest, or, worse, you don't ever fully recovery. Your best bet, of course, is to prevent injuries from happening in the first place. We asked three experts – R. Alexander Creighton, chief of sports medicine at the University of North Carolina; Jonathan L. Chang, clinical associate professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Southern California; and Tim McAdams, team physician for the San Francisco 49ers – to offer the most common career-ending injuries and give us their best advice on how to prevent them.
Every year about 200,000 people tear their anterior cruciate ligament, leading to some 100,000 reconstructive surgeries. This injury will take you out for about six months or more and, after surgery, as many as 1 in 20 people suffer another rupture. People with repaired ACLs are also at greater risk of injuring their other knee.
The Fix: Hamstring, quad, and calf exercises and stretches have long been advised but may not be enough. "Now we're realizing it's much more than that, in terms of the control of the knee coming from the hip and the core," says McAdams. He specifically advises hamstring curls, leg presses, and hip abductor strengthening.
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