When you assess clients, consider asking them whether near relatives have suffered from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. The risk of an ACL tear may be highly influenced by genetic predisposition, according to a study reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (2020; doi:10.1136/bjsports-2020-102392). Advance knowledge can help form effective, individualized prevention programs.

Typical risk factors for an ACL injury include playing on surfaces with high friction, choice of footwear, speed and pivoting. ACL ruptures are also linked to genetic characteristics such as knee malalignment, joint laxity and bone geometry. Researchers from Lund University in Sweden reviewed data from 88,414 twins to assess ACL injury incidence.

Data analysis indicated an overall genetic contribution of 69% for ACL rupture risk heritability for men and women. For context, eye color heritability is 98%, and cancer heritability is reported to be around 33%.

See also: Programming to Prevent ACL Injury