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Females more at risk for ACL tears than males

The ACL

One of the most common knee injuries is an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprain or tear. Unfortunately, females do in fact tend to injure their ACL more often than males. Some studies report females are 3 or more times likely to tear their ACL than their male counterparts.

Reasons for Risk

  • Physiological differences between males and females contribute to increased injuries in females. Females have a wider pelvis, which puts more strain on the ligaments of the knee. Landing mechanics and jumping pattern differences are also a contributing factor.
  • Females and males have differences in hormone levels.
  • Anatomy differences, such as muscular strength and tissue quality, also play a role. Females have been found to have an anterolateral ligament (ALL) that is half the thickness than males. The ALL plays an essential role in controlling rotation of the knee, therefore, the thinner the tissue, the higher the risk of injury. Review research supporting this here.

While it may be discouraging that females are naturally at higher risk of ACL injury, there are many steps that can be taken to prevent injury. One of the most prevalent prevention strategies is to incorporate an injury prevention exercise program into your weekly routine. There are many programs out there that may vary slightly in specific exercises, but the focus should be multi-factorial to include focus on flexibility, strength, proprioception (sense of self-movement and body position), and your ability to jump and land safely.

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Tips for Preventing an ACL Injury

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