Dr. Weber explains why women are more prone than men to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries.
Well, there are number of theories on why that takes or, why that happens. We know that women, depending on what literature you are looking at, can be anywhere from 5 to 7 times at a greater risk of sustaining an ACL injury. The literature has looked at this and there has been a lot of studies trying to evaluate why women are more prone to ACL injuries.
One, we have looked at hormonal: You know, is there a difference because we are hormonally different than men? And, you know, there’s been some mixed reviews in there, but it’s been looked at.
We have also looked at the way that the actual knee is designed, where women have, in the middle of their knee, there’s something called a tunnel. It tends to be a little bit narrower than men.
But, probably the part, or the literature, that has really shown the most hope and helping us develop programs to get women not to develop ACL injuries is really more of how we recruit muscles. So, when we are out there playing basketball or we’re playing soccer or hanging out with our friends and just getting together and playing some sports, when we do certain activities, we tend to land a little differently than men do, and we tend to recruit, again, our quad muscle more than guys do.
Guys tend to use their hamstrings a little bit more, their hip and their glutes a little more than females do. And so, we think that that recruitment and mechanics of how we jump and land tend to really predisposes to more ACL injuries.
And so, what we have done is actually designed programs to try to retrain and to teach women and girls how to jump, how to land, and how to strengthen those specific muscle groups, and the research really has shown that by doing these type of preventative ACL programs that there is a decreased risk, and we are seeing less ACL injuries in those study groups and in programs that have incorporated those into their training program.
About Dr. Weber, M.D.:
Dr. Kathy Weber, the Director of Primary Care/Sports Medicine and Women's Sports Medicine at Rush University Medical Center, possesses a unique expertise with the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal issues. Dr. Weber received her M.D. from Rush Medical College in 1996 and subsequently completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at Rush University Medical Center. After completing her residency, Dr. Weber was asked to remain at Rush for an additional year to assume the prestigious position of Chief Resident of Internal Medicine. She then completed a fellowship in sports medicine at the University of California Medical Center in San Diego.