It's no surprise that women differ a lot from men when it comes to athletics and sports. While women can do everything a man can, they're more susceptible to specific injuries, especially in their knees.
Genetic makeup and hormones are only two factors that play into injuries in a female athlete. The team at Peninsula Orthopedic Associates understands the differences in a female's body and how to prevent specific injuries.
If you're worried about injuring your knees, our team of 10 orthopedic specialists has the knowledge and tools to keep you on the field and off the disabled list this season.
Women and knee injuries
When it comes to women and sports, there's not much that sets them apart from men. However, specific differences in women make them more prone to injury, especially during sports.
Knee issues are among the most common injuries in female athletes, but why? Several factors contribute to knee injuries in women, including:
One of the significant differences that make women more susceptible to knee injuries is found in their anatomy. As a woman, your hips are broader than a man's, changing how your lower body moves.
With a broader pelvis, your knees are more likely to bend inward during sports, while your ankles remain wide like your hips. These differences put excess strain on a woman's ACL compared with a man's.
A woman's anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) notch in the knee joint is also much smaller than a man's, making the ligament more likely to tear during sports and activity.
Hormones are another noticeable difference between men and women. Your hormones play a crucial role in many bodily functions, including the health of your muscles and ligaments.
Women have much less testosterone than men, which is one of the reasons women are more prone to knee injuries. Testosterone is essential for muscle strength and growth, meaning women have less muscle around the knee joint than men.
Women's hormones also fluctuate frequently, especially around their menstrual cycle. Estrogen plays a significant role in bone health but causes looseness in your ligaments and tendons, especially around menstruation. You're more likely to suffer a knee injury because of this.
Less muscle mass
It's no surprise that men have more lean muscle mass than women. Less muscle mass around the knee may lead to more injuries in women due to less support around the joint.
Preventing knee injuries as a woman
Knowing that women are more prone to knee injuries gives you the opportunity to take steps to avoid them. Here are some important ones:
Strengthen your legs
You have less muscle mass in your legs than the average man, so focusing on leg strength is crucial to preventing knee injuries. Hamstring curls and jumping exercises are just a few of the areas you should strengthen to protect your knee joints.
Choose good shoes
Shoes can either make or break your sports season. Make sure you're choosing the proper shoe for your specific sport, and ensure the shoes support you and provide cushioning for your feet. When your shoes become worn, get a new pair.
Always warm up
Warming up before practice or a game helps loosen your muscles and ligaments. Warm-up exercises and stretches increase blood flow to your legs and knees, an essential aspect of avoiding injuries.
Practice good technique
Make sure your technique is good, especially when it comes to jumping. Because a woman’s hips are wider, you're more likely to land from a jump the wrong way, resulting in knee injuries.
Practice jumping exercises to ensure you're landing with your knees and ankles equally apart, taking the stress off your ACL.
Watch your weight
Believe it or not, your weight plays a significant role in the health of your knee joints. The more excess weight you carry, the more pressure your knee joint endures. Eat a healthy diet and exercise safely to keep your weight under control.
To get help for your sports injury or knee pain, don't hesitate to call our office in Daly City, California, today for a consultation or book online on our website.