The number of girls and women participating in all levels of sports has risen greatly in recent years, and the way they play has changed too. Women's sports used to be played by a slow defensive style. Today, the sports are played with speed, precision, and power. With these changes have come increased injuries, and female athletes have higher injury rates than men in many sports. Knee injuries have been rising in female sports. Anterior crutiate ligament (ACL) injuries have become the most common injury in the knee to female athletes. Females are four times more susceptible to injury then men.
The ACL is a dynamic structure whose main function is to provide primary restraint to anterior tibial subluxation. It provides secondary restraint limiting internal rotation and restraint with the knee in full extension. Along with the posterior crutiate ligament, it provides the axis for knee rotation and links rotation with flexion and extension.
The ligament is primarily made up of two bands, the anteromedial and posterolateral, and an intermediate band sometimes present. The ACL runs from the posteromedial portion of the lateral femoral condyle in an inferior, anterior, and medial orientation to an area just lateral to the medial tibial eminence. The posterolateral band is tightest when the knee is in extension, and the anteromedial band is tightest with the knee in flexion.
The majority of ACL injuries suffered during athletic participation are of the noncontact variety. Three main noncontact mechanisms have been identified planting and cutting, straight-knee landing and one-step stop landing with the knee hyperextended. Pivoting and sudden deceleration are also common mechanisms of noncontact ACL injury. Basketball, soccer, and volleyball consistently produce some of the highest ACL injury rates across various age groups. Other activities with a high rate of injury are gymnastics, martial arts, and running. In most sports, injuries occur more often in games than in practice. Many injuries have occurred during the first 30 minutes of play. One-reason physicians are seeing more ACL injuries in female patients that more women play sports, and they play more intensely. But as they continued to do more studies, they are finding that women's higher rate of ACL is probably due ...
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...tead of one big one. Building your leg muscles, especially your hamstrings can help prevent ACL injury. Be thoroughly warmed up before jumping and pivoting hard. It is a good idea to be actually sweating when you are warming up.
When you are exhausted, you shouldn't be playing. Never play in pain and if the pain continues to return when you begin to play again after resting. Some shoes are too good for playing. If there is too much traction, your foot won't give way on fast stops, and the resulting torque on your knee can rip the ligament. Lastly, stick to a sport you love. If you think you are insecure about the sport you are in, and feel that it is too risky, then go into something that makes you feel comfortable.
Females have taken great strides to be able to accomplish as much as males in a male dominant world. Women are more competitive and are able to play at great intensity that was thought impossible several decades ago. It is sad that women have many factors against them, making them more susceptible to injuries. Injuries occur all the time. Although there are many suggestions as to how to prevent ACL injuries, we cannot control everything.
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