ANTERIOR CRUCIATE LIGAMENT (ACL) INJURIES IN WOMEN
The anterior cruciate ligament, also known as the ACL, is a ligament that connects the shinbone (tibia) to the thigh bone (femur). The ACL is an important part of the knee joint because it helps stabilize the knee joint and it helps keep the shinbone from extending beyond the thigh bone (also known as hyperextension). The ACL is a very strong and durable ligament, however, the ligament can become stretched or torn during sudden intense movements like twisting or hyperextension. Unfortunately, ACL injuries can occur at any time and are more commonly seen in women than men. In this article we will focus on the ACL injuries that occur in females.
The anatomy of the female body may be the biggest reason why they are more susceptible to ACL injuries. Women tend to have a wider pelvis or hips. This widening of the hips increases the angle at which a female femur meets their tibia at the knee joint. This angle also differs from men who’s knees align directly under their hips.
This wide angle could contribute to the increased ACL injuries in women because of the greater amount of stress placed on the ligament during certain movements. Other reasons why women may be more susceptible to ACL injuries is their joints tend to be more flexible than men’s and their muscles aren’t as strong. All of these differences in the female body can put a woman at higher risk of experiencing an ACL injury.
Although a female’s anatomy plays the biggest role in the risk of developing an ACL injury, the way a woman moves also plays a role. The different ways women and men move their body can also be a big factor. Growing up, boys tend to participate in more sports, especially aggressive sports. Starting younger allows the male body to become conditioned to the extreme stress placed on their bodies. Because women tend to start these types of intense sports at a later age their bodies are not prepared for the stress caused by aggressive movements.
At Davis Orthopedics we have seen many female patients who have experienced an ACL injury. Dr. Mark B. Davis D.O. works to get each of his patients who suffer from an ACL injury back to enjoying their daily activities. His desire is to prevent the injury before it occurs and encourages his patients to properly condition their bodies before participating in intense sports.
One way a female can lower their risk for developing an ACL injury is to make sure to strengthen the muscles in their leg through certain exercises. Increasing a person’s muscle strength in their legs can take unnecessary stress off the ACL. If anyone, male or female, is experiencing an ACL injury it’s important to contact Davis Orthopedics immediately. Our Prescott Valley, Arizona team is trained in the latest techniques to help the area heal properly. Contact our office today for more information and for a consultation.