and ACL Injuries
For more than a decade,
researchers have debated various reasons why anterior
cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are occurring more often in
women than men, ranging from anatomical to hormonal
differences in the genders.
Recent studies show that
female athletes participating in certain sports like soccer
or basketball are three- to four-times more likely to injure
their ACL than males. A majority of these injuries are
occurring in women between the ages 15 and 25, it was
reported at the meeting.
At a June 1999 consensus
meeting sponsored by the American Academy of Orthopaedic
Surgeons, orthopaedic researchers reported these factors can
explain the increase in ACL injuries among the female
factors. Experts reported that females tend to place
more emphasis on their quadriceps muscle than male
athletes, making it a significant reason why they are at
increased risk of ACL injuries. The panel agreed females
should learn to use their hamstring muscles more often.
The experts also concluded that females tend to land on
a flat foot rather than their toes which can contribute
to the increased injury rate.
influences. There should be no modification of
activity or restriction from a sport at any time during
the menstrual cycle, experts said. They also stated that
a woman’s hormones do not increase the chances of
sustaining an ACL injury, but suggested that further
investigation is warranted.
factors. Functional knee braces do not prevent ACL
injury, experts reported. They agreed that an athletic
shoe’s surface may improve performance because it
provides good traction on certain surfaces, but at the
same time increases the risk of injury.
risk factors. The experts concluded that there were
insufficient data to support the theory that ACL size is
related to injury risk. They also reported that no
consensus could be reached on the role of the size of
the femoral notch (the area within the knee that
contains the cruciate ligaments) as it relates to injury
The researchers agreed
training programs that teach proper landing methods or basic
injury prevention techniques should be adopted to help
to 1998 injury statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product
Safety Commission, more than 81,600 people injured their
knee playing soccer, and 225,800 sustained injuries in
basketball considered two high risk sports for ACL injury in