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A new study says young female athletes run a high risk of re-tearing their ACL after surgery. Jaimie Goodwin has been a regular on “So You Think You Can Dance” for years. In that time, she’s torn her ACL three times, most recently during taping last year.
Goodwin says, “More and more, I saw myself slipping out of alignment when I was dancing and jumping, and then one night I laid down and pushed myself up and my knee just popped right out.”
This time, Dr. Bert Mandelbaum helped her. His research found that five to 25 % of young female athletes will re-tear their ACL’s after surgery.
Dr. Mandelbaum says, “The major factor was complex neuromuscular control. The way young girls have been programmed, hardwired to land and jump.”
Dr. Mandelbaum calls it dynamic valgus. The femur is internally rotated, pushing the leg out of alignment and overloading the knee, often tearing the ACL. He’s retraining athletes to move safely, like Goodwin demonstrates here… Her leg is aligned from hip to foot, supporting and protecting her knee. Goodwin used Dr. Mandelbaum’s “hip strategy” to rehab. It’s a program of plyometrics, stretching, muscle balance, and hip strengthening that works for all kinds of athletes.
Dr. Mandelbaum says, “We want them to habituate their bodies to a whole different level of function, to relearn how to land, jump, decelerate in a more safe fashion.”
Dr. Mandelbaum says it’s effective. He saw an 88 % reduction in ACL tears in year one of a study, 74 % in year two.
Goodwin says, “I think that alone has totally reset my foundation and i feel much safer moving in to my dance career from here.”
Dr. Mandelbaum’s preventing injury, enhancing performance or “pep” program is a 15 to 20 minute warm-up that’s been embraced by all levels of athletes, even pro soccer players.