There have been many studies that indicate that female athletes are more likely to suffer an Anterior Crucial Ligament (ACL) injury than male athletes competing in the same sports.
A torn or ruptured ACL is a major injury to the knee, in which the ACL is over-stretched, and tears partially or completely. Sports like basketball and soccer that include, running, jumping and pivoting, already lend themselves to injury, but some studies are showing that females are 5 to 10 times more likely to suffer an ACL injury.
The increased risk of ACL injuries is unfortunate because the total number of female athletes has been increasing in recent years. Not only are there more women athletes, they’re more active and compete for more years due to increased high level or professional opportunities, like the Olympics, the WNBA, and even women’s mixed martial arts.
Both male and female athletes can suffer an ACL injury when making a sharp lateral pivot or when landing from jumping. This is why sports like basketball, soccer, gymnastics and volleyball are high-risk sports, because they all consistently require the type of movement that could lead to injury.
Why Are Women More Likely To Hurt Their ACL?
There are many theories as to why women are more likely to injure their ACL’s than their male counterparts, but there is no definitive conclusion. One of the popular theories includes the anatomical difference between women and men, most noticeably the pelvis. Women generally have a wider pelvis and supposedly the greater the angle of the pelvis, the more pressure is applied to the knee, which in return leads to more injuries.
Fortunately, ACL injuries are no longer the career ending injuries they once were, however an ACL injury may still take 6 to 12 months to fully recover. A great sports rehabilitation program will help shorten the time an athlete is on the sideline, and reduce the possibility of any reduction in athletic performance.
Preventing ACL injuries
While there is no way to 100% guarantee prevention of ACL injuries, some studies show there are ways to decrease the possibility of injury by decreasing the stress on the knee. Sports exercise programs directed at improving hamstrings and quadriceps strength may decrease the likelihood of injury due to the improvement in knee function.
Some other preventive measures include:
- Warming up properly
- Get the proper rest in between athletic events
If your child is a female athlete and you have concerns about the possibility of an ACL injury, find an IBJI physician near you or call to schedule an appointment. We’ll evaluate your child’s specific needs and recommend the best course of action to help prevent an ACL injury.
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