Knee Pain, ACL Injuries, and Rehabilitation
M. Montoya BA BSc
Knee pain and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are prevalent conditions that can significantly impact an individual's quality of life. Proper biomechanics of movement and neuromuscular recruitment are crucial for knee pain and ACL injury recovery. In this article, we will discuss the scientific evidence supporting the importance of proper biomechanics of movement and neuromuscular recruitment for knee pain and ACL injury recovery, focusing on the underlying physiological mechanisms and the outcomes of various research studies.
Importance of Proper Biomechanics of Movement:
Biomechanics is the study of the mechanical principles that govern the movement of living organisms, including humans. Proper biomechanics of movement is essential for knee pain and ACL injury recovery because it helps maintain the normal alignment and function of the knee joint. Poor biomechanics can lead to abnormal stresses on the knee joint, causing pain, and increasing the risk of ACL injury.
One such biomechanical error is valgus collapse, where the knee collapses inward during activities like landing from a jump or cutting. Valgus collapse increases the strain on the ACL, making it more susceptible to injury. In valgus collapse, the medial (inner) compartment of the knee joint experiences increased loading, and the lateral (outer) compartment experiences decreased loading, leading to uneven distribution of forces on the joint and potentially causing damage to the joint's articular cartilage.
Research studies have shown that improving biomechanics can reduce the risk of ACL injuries and knee pain. Sugimoto et al. (2014) conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and found that neuromuscular training programs reduced the risk of ACL injury by 52% in female athletes and 85% in male athletes. LaBella et al. (2011) found that a jump training program emphasizing proper landing mechanics reduced the risk of knee pain in adolescent athletes.
Proper Neuromuscular Recruitment:
Neuromuscular recruitment refers to the brain's ability to activate the appropriate muscles to control movement. Proper neuromuscular recruitment is crucial for knee pain and ACL injury recovery because it ensures the coordinated and efficient activation of muscles around the knee joint, promoting joint stability and reducing the risk of injury.
When individuals have poor neuromuscular recruitment, it can lead to compensatory movements, such as favoring one leg over the other, which can lead to abnormal stresses on the knee joint and increase the risk of injury. For instance, weak hip abductor muscles may contribute to valgus collapse and increased strain on the ACL.
Research studies have shown that improving neuromuscular recruitment can reduce the risk of ACL injuries and knee pain. A systematic review and meta-analysis by Sadigursky et al. (2017) found that neuromuscular training programs reduced the risk of ACL injury by 55% in female athletes. Another study by Willy et al. (2012) found that a neuromuscular training program emphasizing proper muscle activation reduced knee pain in runners.
Proper biomechanics of movement and neuromuscular recruitment are essential for knee pain and ACL injury recovery. The scientific evidence supports the importance of incorporating proper movement mechanics and neuromuscular training into rehabilitation programs to reduce the risk of injury and promote successful recovery. Healthcare providers should emphasize the importance of proper biomechanics of movement and neuromuscular recruitment in preventing knee pain and ACL injuries.
Sugimoto, D., Myer, G. D., Bush, H. M., & Hewett, T. E. (2014). Effects of compliance on injury rates in randomized controlled trials of neuromuscular training for ACL injury prevention in female athletes. British journal of sports medicine, 48(11), 872-876.
LaBella, C. R., Huxford, M. R., Grissom, J., Kim, K. Y., & Peng, J. (2011). Landing and cutting in youth soccer: effects of field surface. The American journal of sports medicine, 39(1_suppl), 115S-121S.
Sadigursky, D., Braid, J. A., De Lira, D. N. L., Machado, B. B., Carneiro, R. J. F., & Colavolpe, P. O. (2017). The FIFA 11+ injury prevention program for soccer players: a systematic review. BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, 9(1), 18.
Willy, R. W., Scholz, J. P., & Davis, I. S. (2012). Mirror gait retraining for the treatment of patellofemoral pain in female runners. Clinical Biomechanics, 27(10), 1045-1051.