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Women More Likely Than Men To Injure Knees

Armen Hareyan's picture

Women Athletes and Knee Injury

Women are more vulnerable to knee trouble because of their body's design, say orthopedic surgeons at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

"There are speculations that there is a link between estrogen and the amount of trouble women have with their knees, but the fact is that women's bodies are designed differently than their male counterparts," said Dr. Lonnie Paulos, professor of orthopedic surgery at BCM.

Women especially have to be more careful when landing. Female athletes tend to land with their legs knock-kneed, while men land square. Women can prevent knee injuries by learning how to land properly and building strength in their legs.

Teaching female athletes how to land properly should drastically decrease the number of knee injuries in women and reduce pressure on the knee's ligaments.

Most injuries involve damage to the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. The ACL keeps the knee stable by preventing it from moving side to side and back and forth.

"Another key point in preserving the knees is to strengthen the hamstring muscles," said Paulos. "Most women, if they strengthen their legs, focus on the quads. There needs to be a balance in strength to prevent any kind of injury."

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Tips to keeping knees in good physical shape include:

  • Stretching properly before participating in any physical activity

  • Training the hamstring muscle to strengthen the leg

  • Keeping a healthy weight

  • Wearing shoes that are in good condition

  • Sporting a knee brace during physical activity if needed

"Involvement in any sport that requires jumping, cutting or twisting increases chances of injuring the knee, but proper training should reduce the severity and number of cases we see," said Paulos.