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What Is the Most Effective Training Approach for Preventing Noncontact ACL Injuries in High School-Aged Female Athletes?

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Clinical Scenario: A variety of training approaches have been adopted in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) prevention programs, including neuromuscular control training, core stability training, balance training, and plyometric exercise. This review was conducted to determine if current evidence supports one of these training approaches over the others for reducing noncontact ACL injuries in adolescent female athletes. Focused Clinical Question: What is the most effective training approach for preventing noncontact ACL injuries in adolescent and/or high school-aged female athletes? Summary of Key Findings: A literature search generated 2 level 1b randomized control trials and 1 level 2b cohort study. Plyometric training resulted in decreased knee valgus during landing in 3 studies and increased knee flexion at landing in 2 studies. Balance training or neuromuscular training led to decreased knee valgus and increased knee-flexion angles with landing in 2 studies. Core stability training had conflicting effects on knee valgus and knee-flexion angles at landing, with 1 study reporting no effect and another reporting an undesirable decrease in knee joint flexion angle at landing. Clinical Bottom Line: Based on this review, plyometric training, balance training, and neuromuscular training approaches appear sensible to include in ACL prevention programs for female athletes to help decrease knee valgus and knee flexion during landing. Core stability training may be somewhat beneficial for decreasing knee valgus angles at landing, although may have nominal or even deleterious effects on knee-flexion angle at landing, and thus should be implemented with caution. Strength of Recommendation: Our recommendations were derived from the results of 2 level 1b randomized control trials and 1 level 2b cohort study.

Original Article: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28872400/