Vital Signs – Exercise Program Reduces Ligament Injuries in Women –

October 14, 2008
Vital Signs
Exercise: Program Reduces a Knee Injury in Women

A newly designed program of strengthening exercises may help guard against a knee injury that sidelines many girls and young women who play sports, a study says.

The program, which is described in a recent article in The American Journal of Sports Medicine, is intended to reduce injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament, which often require surgery and months of rehabilitation. The lead author is Dr. Julie Gilchrist of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While other strengthening and flexibility programs have been found to reduce injuries to the ligament, known as the A.C.L., they often require special equipment. The researchers said they wanted one that could be easily incorporated into regular team practices.

A co-author of the study, Holly J. Silvers of the Santa Monica Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Research Foundation, said the new program took only about 20 minutes three times a week. Sample exercises, which involve jumping and other forms of muscle strengthening, can be found at

For the study, the researchers worked with 61 women’s soccer teams in the N.C.A.A. and more than 1,400 athletes. Some teams were asked to use the new program for the fall season, while the others were asked to follow their usual routine.

The study found a 41 percent decrease in reported A.C.L. injuries.

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