Women and Knee Injuries (ACL Tears)

Women and Knee Injuries (ACL Tears)

WHY DO WOMEN ATHLETES HAVE INCREASED RATES OF ACL TEARS?

I recently filmed a little video about female athletes and why they seem to have a much higher risk of tearing their ACL than their male counterparts.  This subject seemed to be super engaging, but I know that not everybody loves clicking on a video.

In that spirit, Here is the condensed version of some of the reasons our Female athletes seem to dominate the injury list for you "oldschoolers" who still prefer to read.  (And for an extra bonus I included the videos below in case you change your mind and want to watch me yap a little bit.)

Some of the Anatomical Reasons Women Injure Their ACLs More

THE COMBINATION OF BEING KNOCK KNEED (VALGUS) ALONG WITH JUMPING AND LANDING WITH THE KNEE IN A MORE EXTENDED POSITION ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST FACTORS FOR THE REASON FEMALES INJURE THEIR ACL MUCH MORE FREQUENTLY THAN MALE ATHLETES.
— Dr. William Sterett

Women are typically a little bit more “knock kneed” than men. 

From an evolutionary standpoint, this is because their hips are a little wider (sorry!), which means the alignment of the leg has to be a little more knock-kneed or "valgus."  

With this alignment, the ACL is on a constant stretch,  so that less of a twisting force is needed to damage the ACL.

The notch where the ACL runs within the knee is narrower than in guys. 

Think of this little tunnel where the ACL runs as “pinching” the ligament when the knee fully stratightens, hyperextends or twists. Because of this anatomy, less of a twist might pinch off and tear the ACL in a female athlete than in her male counterpart.

Women are more commonly loose-jointed than their male counterparts. 

There are actual definitions of what constitutes being loose-jointed in life, you can see if this may apply to you.

 The more loose-jointed you are, the easier it is to get into that dangerous hyper-extension or even twisting position.

BEING LOOSE JOINTED PUTS OUR LIGAMENTS MORE AT RISK FOR INJURY, BUT ON THE FLIP SIDE, LOOSE JOINTED PEOPLE ARE LESS LIKELY TO DEVELOP ARTHRITIS DOWN THE LINE.
— Dr. William Sterett

FUNCTIONAL ISSUES THAT CONTRIBUTE TO ACL INJURIES IN FEMALE ATHLETEs #womenacltears

The way women land after jumping often puts the ACL at risk.  Women more commonly land with the knee straighter, rather than bent, the hip straighter rather than flexed, and the ankle flatter. 

Landing with a little more of a flexed knee allows us to use our dynamic stabilizers, the quads and hamstring muscles, to absorb a load rather than simply relying on the bony architecture and ligaments to prevent injury.  Here is an article I published on this subject. Read the article here.

When female athletes run, they often allow their knee to “dive inward” rather than keeping the hip knee and ankle all in line.  Think about doing a lunge and keeping the knee over the second toe.  Allowing this dynamic mal-alignment to happen puts the knee in a more “knock kneed” position, again putting the ACL at risk.

SUMMARY:

  1. THE COMBINATION OF BEING KNOCK KNEED (VALGUS) ALONG WITH JUMPING AND LANDING WITH THE KNEE IN A MORE EXTENDED POSITION ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST FACTORS FOR THE REASON FEMALES INJURE THEIR ACL MUCH MORE FREQUENTLY THAN MALE ATHLETES.

  2. BEING LOOSE JOINTED PUTS OUR LIGAMENTS MORE AT RISK FOR INJURY, BUT ON THE FLIP SIDE, LOOSE JOINTED PEOPLE ARE LESS LIKELY TO DEVELOP ARTHRITIS DOWN THE LINE.


Videos on the Topic of ACL Tears in Female Athletes

Dr. William Sterett addresses the higher instances of ACL injuries in female athletes and offers some explanations in this episode of the SportsMedicine Minute. Dr. Sterett is an orthopedic surgeon practicing in Vail, Colorado. (anterior cruciate ligament). #Vail #KneeDoctor #ACL #OrthopedicSurgeon #BillSterett

On this episode of the SportsMedicine Minute, Dr. Bill Sterett, Head Physician for the U.S. Women's Alpine Ski Team, outlines some of the physiological reasons that female athletes have a higher risk of ACL Injuries-- and he outlines some steps that they can take to prevent further injuries to the Anterior Cruciate Ligament.


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I recently filmed a popular little video about female athletes and why they seem to have a much higher risk of tearing their ACL than their male counterparts. For those who like to read, here's the condensed version of some of the reasons our Female athletes seem to dominate the injury list...http://williamsterett.com/blog-dr-william-sterett/2015/11/10/women-and-acl-injuries


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I recently filmed a popular little video about female athletes and why they seem to have a much higher risk of tearing their ACL than their male counterparts. For those who like to read, here's the condensed version of some of the reasons our Female athletes seem to dominate the injury list...http://williamsterett.com/blog-dr-william-sterett/2015/11/10/women-and-acl-injuries
 

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Why female athletes tend to tear their ACL more? http://williamsterett.com/blog-dr-william-sterett/2015/11/10/women-and-acl-injurie #ACLTears #FemaleAthletes


For LinkedIn Description  

II recently filmed a popular little video about female athletes and why they seem to have a much higher risk of tearing their ACL than their male counterparts. For those who like to read, here's the condensed version of some of the reasons our Female athletes seem to dominate the injury list...http://williamsterett.com/blog-dr-william-sterett/2015/11/10/women-and-acl-injurie



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