Written by 10:27 pm Fitness and Sports Views: [tptn_views]

Why Women Are More Likely To Experience Knee Injuries, and What You Can Do To Protect Yours

Knee pain and knee injuries can occur to anyone at any age, whether you are physically energetic or not. In fact, in accordance with the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), roughly 25 percent of U.S. adults suffer from chronic knee pain consequently of injury, osteoarthritis, or other causes. “But, studies have shown that women have an increased risk of knee injuries in comparison to men,” says Struan Coleman, MD, an orthopedic surgeon on the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), co-founder of Motive Health, and former team physician for the New York Mets. “Specifically, female athletes tear their ACLs at a much higher rate than men—as much as five times more often, especially when participating in sports like soccer and basketball.”

Experts In This Article

  • Struan Coleman, MD, Struan Coleman, MD, an orthopedic surgeon on the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), co-founder of Motive Health, and former team physician for the New York Mets.

Why are women more liable to ACL injuries than men?

Dr. Coleman says that although there has yet to be conclusive evidence pointing to a particular reason, there are several aspects that likely contribute to the disparity. “Men’s and girls’s bodies have unique differences in relation to muscles, ligaments, and bone structure,” he says. “Females are likely to have wider hips than males, which affects the forces across the knee joint. In addition, studies have shown that women have more laxity of their knee ligaments, in addition to other parts of the body, and changes in each hormone concentrations and menstruation can play a job in ligament laxity.”

Another key factor increasing the danger of ACL injuries in women vs. men has to do with differences in muscle activation patterns and relative strength across the knee when jumping and landing which will lead to higher forces across the ACL for girls, in accordance with Dr. Coleman.

“A giant factor resulting in ACL injuries in female athletes is the weakness of the quadriceps muscles above the knee,” he shares. “Strengthening the quadriceps muscles in female athletes will help to guard the knee joint from injury.”

What activities and risk aspects cause probably the most knee injuries in women?

There are certain activities or sports that could make women more liable to ACL injuries than others, primarily attributable to the movement patterns and the stresses placed on the knee joint. “Women who play sports that involve cutting and pivoting like soccer, basketball, skiing, and lacrosse are especially in danger for a knee injury as these movements generate large forces across the ligaments of the knee,” explains Dr. Coleman.

Furthermore: “Any repetitive activity that causes consistent impact to your knee puts you in danger for knee injuries and subsequent pain. This includes running, jumping, deep bending within the knee, or squatting.” That’s to not say that you mustn’t do these activities. In fact, weight-bearing workouts like running and strength training are a few of one of the best ways to guard your joints—you simply need to be certain that you are figuring out with proper form and never overtraining.

Interestingly, Dr. Coleman says that there will also be external lifestyle aspects that further increase the danger of knee injuries like ACL tears. He explains, “Fatigue and dehydration are also big risk aspects for a knee injury as each could cause the muscles that support the knee to offer out, which may result in the injury of ligaments or cartilage within the knee joint.”

What can women do to maintain their knees secure from injury?

Dr. Coleman is an enormous proponent of prevention as the primary line of defense when coping with knee injuries in women. Preventing knee pain and ACL tears begins by ensuring that you will have adequate strength and adaptability (aka mobility) in your muscles and joints for the forms of exercise and workouts you might be doing.

“Many studies have demonstrated that strong and versatile quadriceps and hamstrings—especially in women—are one of the best method to prevent knee injuries, especially ACL tears,” advises Dr. Coleman. “It’s critical to include strength training into any exercise routine, and along with strengthening the leg muscles just like the quadriceps and the hamstrings, you need to concentrate on the larger muscles of the core.”

In terms of strengthening your core, which is ultimately crucial in stabilizing your body during any sort of physical activity, Dr. Coleman recommends Pilates. “Additionally, an easy, proactive, at-home therapy like using a Motive Knee device that targets the knee specifically is an incredible pain management tool so as to add to your wellness routine,” he says. “It’s app-based and could be used at home to strengthen the quadriceps muscles above the knee joint [through electrical stimulation therapy]. Our clinical evidence shows that stronger quadriceps muscles reduce the forces across the knee joint, resulting in less knee pain, higher joint health, and increased mobility.”

Dr. Coleman says that Motive Kee is the one FDA-cleared stimulation device to treat knee pain and increase mobility by treating the foundation explanation for the pain—a scarcity of quadriceps muscle strength—and it may be safely utilized by anyone.

Can I stay energetic if I even have knee pain?

While numerous people embody the mindset that in the event that they have knee pain, they should stop figuring out and/or take pain medication, the alternative is definitely true, in accordance with Dr. Coleman. “When knee pain is brought on by muscle weakness, it’s critical to strengthen the muscles across the knee, especially the quadriceps muscles. Additionally, medication could be helpful, but medication doesn’t treat the underlying problem—the secret’s to maintain the muscles across the knee as strong as possible with the intention to decrease knee pain and help to forestall injury.”

Ultimately, Dr. Coleman believes that knee pain can often function a crossroads for many individuals of their lives: “One path is to be proactive and to diagnose and treat the underlying explanation for the knee pain,” he says. “The second path that folks can take once they experience knee pain is to turn out to be less energetic and to chop out activities that, although enjoyable, cause the knee pain to extend. The latter path ends in a vicious cycle where the person becomes less energetic, the muscles across the knee weaken, and the pain becomes more severe.”

This is all to say that sometimes the trail of least resistance is resistance training.

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