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Male vs. Female Orthopedic Injuries: The Uneven Playing Field

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Posted at 9:04 AM, Sep 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-17 11:21:33-04

Although everyone—young, old, professional athlete, or weekend warrior—is susceptible to sports-related or orthopedic injuries, studies show that women have an increased risk of orthopedic conditions and injuries compared to men. For example, female soccer players have a 2–10 fold higher incidence of ACL injuries than their male counterparts. However, these statistics should not discourage anyone, and the sex of a person is only one facet his or her health profile.
Physiological differences in women that could be a contributing factor

  • Hormones
  • Anatomical structure, especially in the knee joint
  • Imbalance in strength ratio between muscle groups
  • Susceptibility to osteoporosis (as women age)
  • Training and conditioning that is not tailored to the body’s needs

Orthopedic injuries and problems commonly seen in females

  • ACL injury
  • Stress fracture
  • Ankle sprains
  • Jumper’s knee (patellar tendinitis)
  • Tennis elbow
  • Osteoporosis

Preventive measures women can take

  • Activity specific training and conditioning
  • Use proper footwear
  • Work with a trainer to evaluate form
  • Keep bones strong