Sports Injury Forum -Michael DeFranco MD | Guest - Jo Hannafin, MD, PhD from Hospital For Special Surgery. Sports Medicine Specialist. Co-Founder Women's Sports Medicine Center at HSS. Team Physician, NY Liberty WNBA Basketball Team.
Why Women Athletes Are More Susceptible to ACL Injuries Interviewer: Early on the show, we were talking about anterior cruciate ligament injury and in female basketball players, this is an injury that has been said to be two to four times higher in females than in men. Can you explain some of the reasons for that difference? Interviewee: Yeah. There are a lot of theories to why and I think we still don’t know for certain why it’s more common in women than men. Specifically, it is more common in women and girls in the noncontact injury, so someone who’s running down the field or running down the court goes to plant twist and the knee— It is probably a combination of what is called their neuromuscular development, so the weights; their brain controls muscular firing around the knees. It can be related to fitness. It can be related to fatigue, changes in alignment of the hip and the knee and the ankles that happen after a girl goes to puberty, so the angle from the hip to the knee to the ankle changes as the pelvis gets wider when someone goes to puberty. There are theories that changes in hormone level may play a role but I think that’s the one that’s totally the least proven at this point. And so, it is really what you call multifactorial. There are lots of things that play a role. The other thing that’s clear is based on exposure. So, if you do something 10 times or you do something a thousand times, the person who does it a thousand times has an increased risk simply based on that same planting pivoting motion that they do over and over again. I think that may play a role in some of the high school athlete injuries where they have gone from participating at a lower level to suddenly playing on a daily basis in multiple tournaments or suddenly, their exposure rate goes up and that alone may make a difference in the female athletes.