Women Playing with Fire: More Sports Injuries and ACL Tears in Female Athletes
If you think that men suffer more sports injuries, think again. Female athletes are actually more likely to experience many of the most common sports-related injuries. Discover the reasons why women are sporting more sports injuries.
The Painful Price of Play
There are many reasons why women experience more sports injuries than men. While women suffer a variety of sports-related problems, one of the most frequent occurs with women’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The ACL is the structure in the knee that ensures stability under stressful conditions. Doctors say that ACL injuries in female athletes occur six times more than these injuries in men. But ACL tears in female athletes are only one of the many injuries than women undergo. And a surprising amount of other sports-related injuries are occur more often in women, such as:
- Ankle sprains: The most common sports injury in both men and women, but especially frequent in women.
- Knee issues: This includes injuries beneath the kneecap and ACL problems, with an extremely high number of ACL tears in female athletes in basketball and soccer.
- Stress fractures: Frequently experienced in the foot or the lower part of the leg and often due insufficient calorie intake and bone loss.
- Shoulder problems: Often seen in rotator cuff problems and instability.
- Plantar fasciitis: These are small tears in the tissues supporting the foot’s heel and arch.
Common Causes of Female Sports Injuries
While there are no clear answers for what makes women more prone to sport injuries than men, doctors often attribute this to the following female features:
- Higher estrogen levels.
- More body fat with less lean muscle mass.
- More flexibility.
- Different style of movement.
- Less powerful muscles.
- A tighter space in the knee for the ACL, which leads to the high rate of ACL injuries in female athletes.
- Wider pelvis that shifts women’s natural alignment of the knee and ankle.
- Higher chance of low calcium and vitamin D levels.
A Game Plan for Prevention
Luckily, women can decrease their risk of sports-related injuries, especially ACL tears, in a variety of ways. They can strengthen their muscles, change their movement patterns, wear orthotics in their shoes, and get proper nutrition.
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