ACL Tears in Female Athletes
What causes ACL tears?
ACL injuries are usually not caused by contact. For example, a player might change directions quickly to avoid a defender in soccer, or land from a basketball layup. A sudden force such as a landing or twist can cause the ligament tear.
ACL tears are more common in female athletes than they are in male athletes.
Women are at greater risk of an ACL tear because of their knee joints. The looser and more mobile joints of women, including the knee, are generally less flexible than those of men. A woman’s knee may also have less muscle mass, which can cause instability and lead to a ligament tear.
Technique differences play an important role. Female athletes are more likely to fall from a jump in a collapsing position, often moving their knees inwards and not being able to bend enough. These factors make it more likely for an ACL to tear.
What is the difference between ACL tear treatment for female athletes?
No matter your gender, ACL tears can be treated in the same way. These include surgery, anti-inflammatory medication, and often physical therapy. Working with a sports medicine specialist is beneficial because they understand that the ACL tear mechanism for women is different than it is for men. To prevent another injury, he or she may offer suggestions to improve technique and strengthen certain muscle groups.
Do you always need surgery after an ACL tear or is it possible to have the procedure done?
Not necessarily. When deciding whether to have an ACL tear repaired with surgery, it is important to consider your age, current level of activity and desired level. Physical therapy may be sufficient for women who are older or don’t engage in high-intensity leisure or sport activities. Women who are active in sports, have knee-straining jobs, or enjoy hobbies like dancing or dancing may be able to benefit from surgery to restore as much function as possible. The best option for you depends on your situation. A sports medicine specialist will help you decide.
Is it more common for women to tear an ACL again?
A second injury could be caused by the same mechanism that caused the first one. An ACL tear may occur again in either the injured or reconstructed knee. Reinjury risk is affected by the quality of the reconstruction, level of activity and choice of sport.
It is still possible to rip an ACL that has been perfectly repaired and rebuilt. Higher activity levels mean higher risks.
What can female athletes do in order to avoid ACL tears?
Even if everything is perfect, sports injuries can still happen. There are steps you can take that will reduce the risk of injuries related to your technique and lifestyle. These are the same recommendations that can help prevent ACL tears or other sports injuries.
- Practice good technique. Although it is not always possible to avoid injury, good technique can be a big help when playing and training for a sport. Discuss your concerns with your coach or your sports physical therapist in order to correct any improper form.
- Do not exercise if you are tired. It’s easier for you to make mistakes and forget good technique when you’re tired. To prevent injury, it is important to get enough sleep and stop working out before you exhaust yourself.
- Develop muscle groups evenly. Both core and extremity strength is equally important. You run the risk of getting injured if you focus on one thing and ignore the other.
- Balance strength and flexibility Injury is more common in tight muscles than in flexible ones. It is important to work on strength and flexibility with moderation.
- Follow a balanced diet. Bad nutrition can lead to lower strength, endurance, and attention. Focus and performance can be improved by eating well.