Lehigh Valley

ACL injuries are increasingly common in young girls

ACL injuries are increasingly common in young girls

Medical experts say young girls are getting ACL injuries now more than ever.

It's a devastating sports injury that can take up to a year to heal.

On the field and in competition, young girls are bringing it just like their male counterparts, but one thing girls are doing better is injuring their ACL.

"The ACL ligament sits right here. It's this band that connects the tibia to the femur," said Dr. Mitchell Cooper with Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Cooper says he's seeing more young female athletes with ACL injuries and he's not alone.

A report released this week by the American Academy of Pediatrics says the most physically vulnerable time for girls is during puberty.

When their muscles are developing slower than boys and are more prone to injury.

"There are differences in landing technique from jumping there's differences in the body type or habitus, the angles of the female knees the wider pelvis the way they land with those knees angled have a high incidence of rotating and tearing the ACL in the knee," said Cooper.

There are ways for girls to try to prevent an ACL injury, ways recommended by The Academy of Pediatrics and followed by Cooper's practice with Central Catholic High School athletes.

Cooper says the key is focusing on strengthening the core.

"Abdominal strengthening, low back strengthening. A lot of the knee protection comes from strengthening the hips as well," said Cooper.

Cooper says by practicing specific strengthening exercises, the likelihood of an ACL injury for girls could be cut by more than half.

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