Young Female Soccer Players More Likely to Experience Knee Injuries than Males
SACRAMENTO, Calif., September 2, 2011 -Does your daughter play soccer? Did you know that adolescent female soccer players are 4-8 times more likely to suffer an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear than their male counterparts? As the stakes rise for many young athletes starting fall training this month, so do the risks of injury with the knee being the most vulnerable joint to significant injury.
According to David Chang, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine at Sutter Health affiliate Alta Bates Summit Medical Center’s Orthopedic Center of Excellence, a female athlete has slightly different anatomic structures compared to a male athlete - such as wider hips that can lead to knock-kneed alignment. Differences like this can then lead to a higher incidence of both contact and non-contact ACL injuries.
“In addition, there may be hormonal cycles and variations that can loosen the knee’s ligaments and soft tissues - therefore making them more vulnerable to injury,” states Dr. Chang, who serves as a consulting physician for the Los Angeles Galaxy (pro soccer team), team physician for the U.S. Olympic rowing team, and team physician for Contra Costa College athletics.
Prevention is possible however, and can start even before athletes hit the field this fall.
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