Why Are Female Athletes More Prone To ACL Injuries
On average, the rate of non-contact ACL injuries in females is between 70 to 80 percent and is 2 to 9 times more likely to happen than in males, with an average increased incidence of 3.5–4. Part of the reason is female physiology; women’s wider hips increase the angle at which the femur and the tibia meet, which can place greater stress on the ACL. Moreover, the intercondylar notch, at the bottom of the femur, where it meets the knee is smaller in females, which could restrict the movement of the ACL. Biomechanics is another factor; because of the female body’s muscle makeup, when jumping or cutting females take longer to generate maximum hamstring torque and activate the quadriceps first, rather than the hamstring, as opposed to their male counterparts cites the journal of Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine. These factors could predispose females to ACL injury. However, as with any athlete, prevention programs initiated prior to the onset of puberty, to strengthen knee joints and promote correct neuromuscular and biomechanical patterns, are the most effective at reducing the risks of ACL injury.
The most common type of ACL injury seen in female athletes is via a noncontact mechanism. A noncontact ACL injury in sport is an injury in which the athlete tears the ACL during an awkward movement that does not involve direct contact with another athlete. On average 70%–78% of ACL injuries occur via a noncontact mechanism
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