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News

Helping female athletes avoid knee injuries

Duke University Pratt School Of Engineering : 30 December, 2006  (Technical Article)
Women who play sports suffer torn ACLs and other serious knee injuries at a rate far greater than their male counterparts. A Duke Sports Medicine expert says new screening techniques and training programs are aimed at preventing these injuries in young women.
Women who play sports suffer torn ACLs and other serious knee injuries at a rate far greater than their male counterparts. A Duke Sports Medicine expert says new screening techniques and training programs are aimed at preventing these injuries in young women.

Female athletes are at far greater risk for serious knee injuries than their male counterparts. Depending on her age and the sport she plays, a young woman is five to 10 times more likely to suffer a torn ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament. Dr. Allison Toth, an orthopedic surgeon, directs the Duke Sports Medicine Center and is team physician for Dukeís womenís athletic teams. She says some of this increased risk, but not all, is due to hormonal differences between men and women. 'The biomechanical factors, such as some weakness about the hips, the dominance of the quadriceps muscles over hamstrings, are factors that we think we can control to help prevent some of these injuries.' Toth says there are specialized programs to help female athletes avoid knee injuries. 'Most of them focus on teaching balance and landing techniques, as well as strengthening muscles around the pelvis and legs selectively, to help prevent those injuries.' The best age for girls to begin injury-prevention screening and training is in pre-adolescence, says Toth, but itís helpful for athletes of all ages. Iím Cabell Smith for MedMinute.
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