PHOTO 1

PHOTO 2

PENINSULA FITNESS

Steer Clear of Potential ACL Tear 


These are photos of a young basketball player. The first shows a left rotational pivot off his right foot (photo 1).  The next captures a right rotational pivot off his left foot (photo 2). As a reference point for each leg position prior to the pivot, I have highlighted each foot and added a red vertical line. The most obvious difference: When the pivot starts to the right side, the boy’s left foot changes position significantly more than when the right foot pivots. 


What’s creating such a difference in these two movement patterns? Tight left inner-thigh muscles (adductors), which pull the athlete’s entire leg and foot in the same direction (in the case, to the right). These imbalanced, tight muscles leave the ligaments of the left knee vulnerable to stress, strain or tearing, especially during a pivot to the right. 


This basketball player can limit the risk to one or both of his knees by strengthening his ankle, leg and hip muscles. Even more critical: He needs to increase the rotational range of his tight adductors, an issue that is often ignored, even in programs designed to keep knees injury-free.