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The ACL and Leg Dominance

Leg dominance is more common in female athletes than in males. Leg dominance is when one leg is stronger and more efficient than the other leg and is typically the dominant side of the body whether someone is right handed or left handed.  Any time there are discrepancies on one side of the body versus the other; the athlete is more prone to injury because of the change in efficiency of the mechanics involved in certain motions preformed.  This can happen when one leg is stronger than the other or when one leg is more flexible or mobile than the other. In either case there are differences from one side to the other making that athlete more vulnerable because the body will have to generate compensations in order to continue to produce efficient movements.

This is important to note because any athlete who has had a previous injury and especially any athlete who has had an ACL surgery is going to be more prone to experiencing leg dominance. Leg dominance is one of the main reasons that ACL injury incidence rates increase after having one ACL injury. After tearing your ACL you have a 1 in 50 chance of tearing it again or tearing the ACL in the other knee. Because of these issues it is very important to successfully complete an entire rehabilitation and strength training program before advancing to running, cutting, and jumping drills. If there is even the slightest difference in strength or flexibility in one leg versus the other your chances of injury increase.

Neuromuscular training programs help to eliminate this issue and are specifically important for the female athlete to incorporate and master because female athletes typically have altered firing patterns in their muscles unlike most males. Neuromuscular training programs are crucial for any athlete recovering from or preventing ACL injury.