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Why Women Are More Prone to ACL Tears Than Men

Why Women Are More Prone to ACL Tears Than Men

The ACL tear is a dreaded injury among pro athletes. It can be career-ending if extremely severe and take longer than a season to heal even if relatively minor. Women are more prone to ACL tears than men because of physical structural differences.

At MidJersey Orthopaedics Flemington and Bridgewater, New Jersey, our expert team provides diagnostic, surgical, and rehabilitative treatments for ACL tears for both men and women, and we understand the differences that can be present in the damage done and the treatment needed.

Knee anatomy  

Your knee joint is a flexible joint with enormous range of motion. It connects your femur, or thigh bone, to your tibia, or shin bone. The kneecap in front protects the joint, while inside, two major ligaments tie the entire structure together. 

The posterior cruciate ligament supports the back of the knee, while the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) supports the front. Basically, if the ACL didn’t exist, there would be almost nothing to prevent your tibia from sliding in front of the femur.   

5 main causes of ACL tears in sports

ACL injuries in sports happen during sudden, violent moves that put extra strain on the knee joint. These include:

  1. Attempting to slow down quickly from a fast run
  2. Trying to change direction at high speed
  3. Stopping abruptly
  4. Impacting another athlete’s body
  5. Jumping then landing badly

Tearing of the ACL is typically accompanied by a signature loud “pop” followed by acute pain and extreme swelling of the knee joint.  

Why women are more prone to ACL tears

Women are two to eight times more likely to suffer an ACL tear than men are. The reasons lie in the different anatomy between the two sexes:

Woman can be smaller than men

Most, although not all, women are smaller than men. Smaller bones and ligaments can be more susceptible to injury. Of course, this isn’t true of all female athletes, but it is true of many.

Women have a different pelvic alignment than men

Women’s pelvic alignment is different then men’s, and what’s more, a woman's pelvic alignment can change throughout her life (this is why forensics specialists can tell from a skeleton if a woman ever gave birth.) 

Women have looser ligaments than men

Estrogen helps build stronger bones in women, but it also contributes to ligament laxity. This is also related to their potential for childbearing; during pregnancy and childbirth, women’s bodies change drastically to accommodate the fetus.

Have you suffered an ACL injury? Call one of our conveniently located offices, or request an appointment using our online scheduler today. 

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