Injury Prevention for the Female Athlete
Females are 4-6x more likely to suffer knee injuries (ACL tear, meniscus tear) than males. Most injuries tend to happen not from physical contact but from quick twisting, or jerking movements during agility activities.
Women are more predisposed to knee injuries due to:
◊ Women naturally have wider hips than men in proportion with knee alignment creating increased strain at the knees with squatting or load bearing activities, worsened by weakness of hip stabilizer muscles. If a jumping or twisting movement takes place with weak hip muscles, the stress gets transferred to the knees instead and significantly increases risk of knee injuries.
◊ Women also have increased laxity of ligaments that stabilize joints, thus increasing the need for stabilization training of the hip and knee to reduce risk of injury from hypermobility.
Common symptoms include:
◊ Pain with reaching for objects
◊ Reaching over your head
◊ Pain after completing household chores
◊ Shoulder joint stiffness or tenderness
◊ Pain with laying on shoulder at night
How can physical therapy help?
Your Physical Therapist will assess specific muscle groups to be strengthened, usually the muscle groups surrounding the hips (gluteals, quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors), perform a biomechanical assessment of sports movements you are required to participate in and educate you for optimal form. Physical Therapy interventions also include specific stretching/strengthening exercises to target the hips and knees, agility training for your specific sport or fitness activity, balance training to improve stability of the hips in high performance activities, and biomechanics training to reduce risk of injury.