The most common knee injury in sports is damage to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) through tears or sprains. “They occur in high demand sports that involve planting and cutting, jumping with a poor landing, and stopping immediately or changing directions” (University of Colorado Hospital). The ACL is a ligament that runs diagonally in the middle of the knee and found at the front of the patellar bone. Its function involves controlling the back and forth motion of the knee, preventing the tibia from sliding out in front of the femur, and providing rational stability to the knee. Interestingly, women are more prone to ACL injuries than men. The occurrence is four to six times greater in female athletes.
Knee injuries are the second most common injuries in basketball players, as 14.7% of injuries affect the ACL. Statistics show that females have approximately 2.08 injuries per 1,000 athlete exposures, while males only have 1.83 injuries per 1,000 athlete exposures. More specifically, 7.4% of the time, males internal damage to their knee, such as ACL tears, and females have a staggering 15.9%.
There are a few reasons that support this finding. First, females tend to have an imbalance in the strength ratio between their hamstrings and quadriceps. While slowing down from a sprint, females use their quadricep muscle. This results in an instability in the knee. A male athlete is more likely to use their hamstring to slow down instead of their quadricep. The hamstring is a muscle behind the femur and the quadricep is the muscle in front of the femur. The slight difference in technique is what gives the ligaments of the knee the protection they need.
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... activities differently. For example, females knees are more turned in towards the midline of the body. This is because they have a wider pelvic bone than males. Furthermore, females bend their knees a lot less than males when jumping and landing. When running and jumping, it is important to bend at the ankles, knees, and hips. This provides the body with a rigid support system. Females get ACL injuries because when they land, they “lock out,” that is, they straighten instead of bend their knees.
All in all, injuring the ACL is a devastating blow to the knee. The ACL, which plays a major role in the support of the knee, must be protected during full-contact activities. Even simple activities such as running and jumping can lead to ACL injuries. It is important to follow the proper technique so that the body can stay healthy and continue to do what one does with it.
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