Female Sports Injuries

Female Sports Injuries

Female athletes are predisposed to certain injuries. This has been talked about most in regards to ACL injuries. We know that females are especially prone to ACL tears. We also know that these tears can be prevented by ACL prevention and conditioning programs. These programs ideally should be started at a younger age as we often see ACL tears in girls who are 11-12 (sometimes younger). We know that if a young female athlete has an ACL tear her chance of tearing her other ACL in the next two years is 25%. Some of the factors that increase the risk of ACL injuries in females cannot be changed, but we know that improving hamstring and hip strength as well as working on improved mechanics can make a difference.

In addition, the treatment of ACL injuries in female athletes can be different, or at least should be thought about in a slightly different way. Graft choice should take into account issues such as ligamentous laxity, potential for decrease hamstring strength, potential for small hamstrings and history of anterior knee pain. The answer is not the same for everyone, but it is important to keep these issues in mind.

The treatment for other knee issues in women can be slightly different as well. For example, patella instability and patellofemoral pain are both more common in women. Some of these patients have anatomical factors that increase their risk of these issues and need to be taken into consideration when developing a treatment plan.

Shoulder injuries also have some unique characteristics in females. Often females are more loose jointed which can affect shoulder mechanics. Women are also more prone to certain shoulder issues such as adhesive capsulitis. There has been some thought that perhaps, certain injury complexes are more common in women, but this is still being studied.

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