Playing sport & knee injuries. Women are more at risk.

What first comes to mind when you hear the words sports injury? Chances are, it’s most likely a big, muscly footballer clutching his knee. But in fact, women are more prone to sports-related injuries than men – up to six times more common. The question is why and what kinds of injuries.

There’s multiple reasons, mainly to do with the differences in the bodies of men and women. Women have higher estrogen levels and less muscle mass. They’re more flexible (looser ligaments) but have weaker muscles. Women also have a wider pelvis, which alters the alignment of the knee and ankle. There’s a smaller space within the knee for the ACL to pass through.

Not only this, females move differently, too. Think about those yoga poses. There’s been research about the link between a woman’s menstrual cycle and injuries. Studies have shown that the female hormone estrogen makes women more vulnerable to ACL injury by weakening this ligament. A previous investigation found that more ACL injuries in women occur during the points of their menstrual cycle when estrogen levels are high.

All of these reasons combined, make women at risk of ankle sprains, shoulder troubles, stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, and knee injuries. Problems with the knee are especially common for high-impact sports like netball and basketball, where the knee is subject to a sudden jolt. It’s the same issue runners experience.

The numbers 

Interestingly, most of the injuries that are occurring are non-contact. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 70% of ACL injuries involve little or no contact with another player. It’s due to the force applied to the knee at the time of the injury. The playing surface plays a huge role in this. Nearly 30,000 of the injuries resulted in reconstructive surgery.

Fitness has little to do with injuries that happen. While injury prevention strategies should be followed, injuries do happen. When it does, there are options available that don’t involve being side-lined for weeks, maybe months.

The less invasive alternative to a knee replacement 

If you have sore knees and you want to learn about alternatives to a knee replacement, book an appointment with Dr. Marzola. We’ll talk to you about stem cell therapy, the non-surgical method of repairing your body’s own cells to repair your knee.

Learn about stem cell therapy here.

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