The Female Athletes Epidemic

More than a decade ago the American Journal of Sports Medicine featured a content titled “The Association Between the Menstrual Cycle and Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in Female Athletes. ” This article examined the suspicion that many coaches already had, which is of which hormonal, as well as anatomical, predispositions were to blame for the seeming epidemic of female athlete ACL tears. I have get to the conclusion that there are three major reasons that women are more as compared with four times more likely then men to tear their whole ACL’s playing sports. (1)

In order to make hypotheses about females increased susceptibility to ACL tears, one must primary understand the basic anatomy of the knee, and the purpose of the main ACL. First, the knee is a joint comprised of three bones; the femur, the tibia, the fibula as well as the patella. The knee joint is padded by chapters of cartilage (menisci) on both the medial and lateral section. The ACL is one of four major ligaments responsible for steadiness in the knee. The ACL originates in the notch within the distal portion of the femur, and inserts into the shin. Due to its origin and insertion, its primary purpose will be to protect the knee from too much anterior translation of the tibia.

The first portion of the hypothesis we will discuss is definitely the hormonal reason for women’s increased susceptibility to ACL rips. Dr . Kurt Spindle, an orthopedic surgeon in Nashville, has done some of the most relevant research on this portion of the female athlete’s epidemic. In his study, he discovered that women were three times more likely to tear the ACL when they were on their phase. He explains this by stating that during a woman’s period the hormones luteinizing and follicle stimulating production are allowed to enter the blood stream and these hormones comes into contact with the ACL’s recently discovered active hormone receptors. It is contemplated that this spike in hormonal levels can actually temporarily get a new composition of the ligament, therefore leaving the ACL even more prone to tearing. Dr . Spindle also cited that women who had previously been taking oral contraceptives were less likely to tear their ACL’s. This is due to the fact that oral contraceptives skyrocket estrogen and progesterone levels, causing luteinizing and follicle stimulating hormones to not be released.

Your second reason female athletes are at least four times like likely to tear their ACL is because of the difference in the function of the hip. The term “Q-Angle” is defined as “a measurement from the angle between the Quadriceps (Rectus Femoris is usually used) plus the patella tendon (3). ” Q-Angles in women are actually at least five degrees larger than that in men, which then causes an increased tension on almost all of the ligaments of the hip plus knee. The hip structure most women have is great for giving birth, but not so great for playing sports that require lots of multidirectional movement. Know more

The third reason for female ACL tears is an physiological predisposition as well. The intercondyler notch is a portion of the actual knee, between the condyles, that the ACL glides through for the duration of extension and flexion of the knee. There are two completed portions one on each side of the notch that are termed condyles. These condyles provide a large source of stabilization with the knee. Think of the condyles as your knuckles when you decide to put two fists (femur and tibia) together. One of the condyles main purposes is to give the ACL additional support in controlling to much anterior movement of the tibia. Women have lesser condyles (less knee stability) as well as a smaller intercondyler level. The fact that women typically have smaller condyles is a distinct clockwork disadvantage that leaves women with less knee stableness in general. Additionally , the smaller intercondyler notch, women have, may lead to the ACL being pinched or torn inside the articulation. So there are a host of anatomical differences in the leg joint of women that leave them more susceptible to ACL cracks.