Women & ACL injuries
The anterior cruciate ligament is one of the four major ligaments of the knee that connects the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone) and helps stabilize the knee joint. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is one of the common injuries of the knee. An injury to the ACL commonly occurs during sports or activities that involve twisting, overextension, landing from a jump incorrectly, and abrupt change in direction or speed of movements.
ACL injuries are more common in women than men due to anatomical differences which include:
- Women have a smaller ACL, a wider pelvis and an increased incidence of inward knee pointing.
- Women have less strength in the muscles as compared to men. In addition, women use their quadriceps muscles more than men for stability and take more time to develop muscular force resulting in greater stress on the ACL.
- Women have looser knees and a greater range of motion as compared to men.
These factors make women more vulnerable to ACL injury by weakening the ligament.
A training and rehabilitation program can help reduce the risk of ACL injury. The program focuses on:
- Controlling inward knee movement.
- Emphasizing use of the hamstring muscles for knee stability.
- Controlling movement of the hip and trunk and training the hip muscles to stabilize the knee.
- Controlling knee extension.
- Increasing muscle endurance.