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ACL injuries in young athletes

The ACL is one of the four major ligaments in the knee. These ligaments connect the knee joint to the tibia (shin bone) and the femur (thigh bone). The ACL, which is located behind the kneecap, is the ligament that helps keep the knee stable.

Who gets ACL injuries?

Any child can get an ACL injury. However, those who play contact sports, like football and soccer, face the highest risk for this injury. It can occur when a young athlete changes direction or stops suddenly. It also can happen after jumping and landing with the legs straight instead of bending the knees when landing. This puts pressure on the knee joint.

Girls are four times more likely than boys to suffer from a torn ACL. Many experts believe that this is partly due to the differences between girls’ and boys’ bodies. Another reason girls face a higher risk for a torn ACL is because they have a natural tendency to jump and land with straight legs.

Video: How ACL injuries occur in children



Video: Surgery options for ACL injuries in children



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Sports nutrition counseling services

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Children's Hospital of Wisconsin offers sports nutrition counseling services to help patients and families who have concerns and questions about diet, hydration, sports injury recovery, and overall healthy eating for performance. Learn more.

Growth plates 101

Growth Plates
Why pediatric experts are best equipped to treat growth plate fractures in children. Learn more.