ACL Injury Prevention

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Dr. Timothy Hewett, in action

I had the good fortune (and space in my clinic schedule) to attend a lecture given earlier this month by Tim Hewett, PhD, FACSM.  Dr. Hewett is a man of many titles.  I know him best as the Director of Research and Director of the Sports Health & Performance Institute at Ohio State University Sports Medicine, and his talk was on “Understanding and Preventing First and Second ACL Injuries.”

If you have never heard Tim speak, you are missing out on a treat.  I learn so much from his talks: ranging from the ones I catch at the annual American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) gatherings to the ones I occasionally can attend here in Columbus, Ohio, the city we both call home.

It stands to reason: the man has authored over 248 peer reviewed articles and has been awarded millions of dollars of grant money.  We have had the fortune here at CJSM to have published a number of his manuscripts, including one in the most recent September 2014 journal (on gender differences in hip abduction/adduction) and one in 2012 on  the incidence of ACL re-injury after primary reconstruction.

acl rupture post reconstruction deidentified

Oh, my reconstructed ACL: Where have you gone?

The issue of primary- and secondary-prevention of ACL injury is huge. We’ve lived, for instance,  through a virtual epidemic of ACL ruptures in the NBA over the past couple years.  Derrick Rose is returning (yet again) to the hardcourt after his terrible injury in the 2012 playoffs, and that’s great news for the Bulls and fans of great basketball in general.   In his talk Dr. Hewett suggested that at least part of this statistical uptick  in ACL injuries was likely due to the NBA lockout, resulting in an abbreviated 2011 – 2012 season preceded by an ‘abnormal’ preseason.  “These teams have a very structured offseason training program where they do a lot of injury prevention-type neuromuscular training”  (NMT), Hewett has been quoted in interviews.  The absence of such pre-season NMT work, he thinks, is associated with the litany of ACL injuries seen that season, capped off by Derrick Rose’s.

ACL injury prevention is both needed and achievable.  In his lecture, Dr. Hewett stated that there is evidence to suggest that anywhere from 50% to 100% of patients who sustain an ACL rupture go on to develop osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee, even in those who go on to have an ACL reconstruction (ACLR) Read more of this post

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