ACL tears are up to 8 times more common in women than men. Most ACL injuries in women are sports-related, often occurring when women pivot or jump while playing soccer, basketball, lacrosse, or skiing. Men do these actions in sports, too, so why are ACL injuries more common in women? And are there steps we can take to prevent injury?
What is an ACL tear?
Your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) runs diagonally across the surface of your knee to connect the femur to the tibia. It is strong but does not have much elasticity, so can be torn if overstressed.
Why are ACL tears more common in women?
First, women are more prone to ACL tears due to their anatomy. Women have a wider pelvis that affects the mechanics of how the thigh bone, tibia, and femur function compared to men. This puts more stress on women’s soft tissues that support the joints.
Women also typically have less muscle mass around their knees, which can cause greater instability and increase your chance to over-stretch the ligament.
In addition to anatomy, women also have less testosterone and more estrogen. Testosterone can help increase muscle density, while estrogen can cause tendons and ligaments to loosen. This results in a greater risk of tears in women.
How can you prevent ACL tears?
While we have little control over our anatomy and hormones, there are steps women can take to prevent ACL tears.
- Build up strength in quadriceps and hamstrings to support your knee, lower leg, and ankle
- Don’t neglect your core and hip muscles when strength training
- Do a dynamic warmup focusing on stretching and balancing
- Practice landing and pivoting to improve your stability and coordination
What are some other injuries that are more common in women?
- Knee pain and instability
- Ankle sprains
- Stress fractures
- Hip impingements
ACL Tear Treatment in Knoxville, and Athens, TN
If you sustain an ACL tear, then you can go to the ORTHOKnox orthopedic clinics in Knoxville, Tennessee, or Athens, Tennessee, to discuss your treatment options. Dr. David Hovis at ORTHOKnox has performed many ACL reconstructions, and the on-site physical therapy team is ready to help you heal and build up strength so you can return to your active lifestyle again.
For more information about how ORTHOKnox can treat your ACL tear, call (865) 251-3030, or fill out our easy-to-use online appointment request form. We look forward to hearing from you!