(From Kansas City Star article) When it comes to preventing ACL injuries, LESS may be more.
The Landing Error Scoring System (LESS) has been by developed by Darin Padua, director of the Sports Medicine Research Laboratory at University of North Carolina, as a predictive tool in the prevention of ACL injuries.
“The purpose of the project was to figure out what were risk factors for ACL injuries,” Padua said in a phone interview. “We wanted to focus on what we call modifiable risk factors, things we can hopefully change through exercise.”
Over the past five years, Padua and five colleagues studied 2,691 incoming freshmen at the military academies. A motion analysis was performed on the subjects.
Each had to jump off a box that was 30 centimeters high. A square was marked off on the floor so they had a visual target area to land on in front of them. The subjects had to jump off the box, and then jump forward a height that was 50 percent of their body height.
The researchers looked for a number of potential “errors” in the mechanics of the jump. Problems included landing with the knees too straight, allowing the knees to collapse in knock-kneed appearance, allowing the toes to rotate in or out, not bending enough at the knees and hips when a subject landed from a jump or landing asymmetrically (one leg before the other).
“The notion is that the individuals who have the higher number of movement errors or a certain pattern of errors are going to be at risk for ACL injuries,” Padua said.
Padua added that the test should take less than five minutes.
“The ultimate goal,” Padua said, “is to create a quick and simple screening tool. Community soccer leagues, high school teams, colleges, recreational athletes can order a quick three- or four-minute assessment and then identify those individuals who may be at risk of injury. Ultimately, what we’d like to do is not say you shouldn’t play sports, but here are some things you can do to move better and reduce your risk of injury.”