7 July 2015,

Studies show that female athletes have roughly three times greater risk of ACL tears during soccer and basketball.  Anatomy, limb alignment, and hormonal and neuromuscular sources are possible causes, but no one definitive cause exists.

Patterns in female athletes during landing positions have shown a more erect posture and tendency towards a different knee rotation when compared to males. Furthermore, females have a higher quadriceps hamstring muscle mass ratio than males. This means female athletes are more likely to sustain alterations in knee alignment during landing due to their posture and are less likely to land properly and thus are at higher risk for ACL tear.

There are training exercises and techniques that may help prevent these ACL injuries.  Enhanced muscular control of the lower extremities is possible through focused strengthening activities such as, plyometrics (jump training) and feedback-driven balance exercise.  Strengthening exercises of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteals, such as squats and lunges, counteract knee caving that places the athlete at high risk. Planks, prones, and core exercises also improve trunk strength and core stability.

Plyometric exercises, or jump training, involves a combination of eccentric and concentric muscle contractions that increases muscle power. Examples include dual and single leg squat jumps, bounding exercises, and box jumps that progressively increase in duration and intensity as the athlete gains proficiency and strength.


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