You may or may not be a football fan, but chances are high you've heard of Tom Brady, the boyfriend of supermodel Gisele Bundchen. In his first game of the season, Brady, the quarterback for the New England Patriots, limped off the field, and folks are speculating that he's torn his ACL. An MRI will help determine the diagnosis and extent of his injury.
One of the most commonly injured ligaments, ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament. It's one of the four major ligaments that connect the bones in the knee joint. A torn ACL is a serious injury that often requires surgery followed by a lengthy recovery period. While accidents happen, like random tackles, there are some preventative measures you can take to avoid this injury:
- Before moving right into an intense workout, always warm up your muscles first for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Low impact activity like walking is a great way to warm up.
- When exercising, try to keep your motions smooth. Turning directions quickly or coming to an abrupt stop can result in a torn ACL.
- Spend time strengthening the muscles surrounding your knees including your quads, shins, calves, and hamstrings. This will increase stability in your knee. Lunges, squats, walking up stairs, or doing exercises with dumbbells are great to work into your routine.
For other helpful hints and to see a video showing how Tom Brady suffered his injury read more.
- Cross-train with various types of exercise. Sticking to just one activity can result in an injury caused by repetitive movements. Plus mixing up your routine helps you burn more calories and strengthens different muscles.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts stress on your joints and can increase your risk for degenerative arthritis, which can result in knee pain.
- Always stretch after you run, bike, hike, swim, or do anything active. Flexible muscles and ligaments are less likely to tear. Avoid stretching before an activity when you're not warmed up. Think of how cold bubble gum will rip in half if you pull it, but if it's warm, it'll stretch.
- If you're experiencing pain in your knee, back off a little on the intensity of your workouts. Working through pain can make an injury worse.
Here's the video of Tom Brady (#12) from yesterday's game. Fast forward to .38 and keep an eye on his left knee just after he throws the ball.