by Grishma Shah, PT DPT
Did you know that female athletes are 3-8 times more prone to ACL and knee injuries compared to males!
A common knee injury is an ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) injury. This condition is painful and can restrict your activity, sport, and sometimes may warrant surgery. Furthermore, longer lasting and more serious implications of ACL and other injuries exist due to the subsequent lifetime potential for early onset post-traumatic osteoarthritis and other joint problems.
ACL Injury Mechanisms
The majority of ACL injuries are non-contact in nature.
Some common injury mechanisms are:
- Planting/cutting, landing from a jump, either with a straight knee,
- Landing with a hyperextended knee (26% ), and
- Deceleration of the body with the knee in an extended position
Why this difference in ACL injury rates between females and males?
In general, females have different biomechanics and neuromuscular when jumping, landing and pivoting. All these are required in many sports such as basketball and soccer.
Researchers have found that compared to males, generally females have:
- Decreased knee flexion and increased inward motion of knee (knee valgus).
- Decreased strength in hip and knee extensors like quadriceps and gluteal muscles.
- Increased ligament and joint capsule laxity due to higher estrogen levels.
What can we do about it?
Over the last 20 years, practitioners have devised multiple programs to reduce ACL injury risk.
Overall, proper training and conditioning can help in reducing the risk for these injuries.
ACL Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation Programs
Some encouraging results from comprehensive training programs (FIFA 11+) have been noted in reducing ACL injury rates in athletes across multiple levels and sports.
Your Physical Therapist here at Orthocare Physical Therapy Center can help! We can provide proper neuromuscular rehabilitation and help you get stronger by working specifically.