How Neuromuscular Control Helps in Reducing Lower Limb Injuries

In athletic trainings, one of the aims of neuromuscular training programs is to prevent injuries. Neuromuscular training has been shown in reducing sport-related injury risk and enhancing functional performance after a sport injury.

In a study published in Injury Prevention, researchers provide more evidence for targeted neuromuscular control exercise programs for reducing knee injuries and lower limb injuries.

What is Neuromuscular Control?

You might have heard the term, muscle memory. But do muscles actually remember things?

Experts say they do, but not the kind you think. Muscle memory is not a memory stored in your muscles. They are stored in the cells of the cerebellum. It is where the brain process information and records whether certain movements are right or wrong. The brain gradually focuses on the correct action and stores it in your long-term memory.

When you teach your body how to perform a certain activity, it creates a physiological blueprint. The muscles become accustomed to certain types of movement. When the body adapts to repetition of a specific physical activity, it results in increased neuromuscular control when performing that activity again.

Neuromuscular control refers to the unconscious trained response of a muscle to a signal regarding dynamic joint stability. This system of messages from the nervous system interacts to connect various aspects of muscle actions, contractions, coordination, stabilisation, body posture and balance.

Lower extremity movements, including the knee joint, are controlled through this system. It’s important to provide the lower extremities with correct messaging to move efficiently.

The neuromuscular control system is the network of neurones and muscles involved in controlling movement and posture. This system also includes the sensors, sensory processing circuitry and the passive mechanical structures that influence movement.

What is the Role of Proprioception?

Proprioception is an important element of neuromuscular control. It is a special variation of sensory modality that encompasses the sensation of joint movement and joint position.

If you have proper proprioception, you may be able to timely detect the speed and magnitude of perturbation and react with proper muscle activation and joint motion.

Other elements crucial for reestablishing neuromuscular control include kinesthetic awareness, dynamic stability, preparatory and reactive muscle characteristics, and conscious and unconscious functional motor patterns.

Movement has always been essential, whether in sports or in daily activity. In sports, moving is complex. You need strength, endurance and precision. Training your neurological system should have the movement to be properly performed repetitively.

Training your lower extremity movements with controlled exercises that involve jumping, landing and pivoting can help keep their stability, thus reducing risk of injuries.

If you move your body beyond the limits, you’re more likely to cause injuries to your muscles, tendons and ligaments.

In a 2016 study in Injury Prevention, it was shown that individuals who participated in the neuromuscular control intervention had a reduced rate of lower limb injuries. The players under neuromuscular control group had a reduced lower limb injury rate compared to control players. The knee injury incidence rates in the neuromuscular control group were also reduced compared to control players.

Having sufficient neuromuscular control on lower extremities is important for injury prevention. Training programs try to facilitate its development using movements that simulate sports function, focusing on the hip and knee joints.

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