The Sports Injuries That Are Much More Common In Female Athletes

Low section of sportswoman suffering from knee pain while sitting on track during sunny day

Certain sports injuries are much more common among female athletes than their male counterparts. This includes everyone from girls participating in sports at school to professional female athletes. There are specific injuries that are more likely to occur to women, and a variety of reasons that could explain why.

The Injuries That Are More Common for Female Athletes

Many of these different sports injuries are common in both women and men, but are slightly higher among the former:

  • Concussions
  • Ankle sprains
  • Knee injuries, including ACL tears and ligament damage
  • Shoulder injuries, including rotator cuff problems and instability
  • Stress fractures, especially in the foot or lower leg
  • Plantar fasciitis (small tears in the support tissues along the arch and heel of the foot)

Why These Injuries Occur More Frequently for Female Athletes

According to experts, there are a variety of possible explanations for why these injuries could be more common among female athletes than male. However, these are closer to theories than solid, undisputed reasons. Most relate to the biological differences between men and women. For example, female sports players and athletes typically have:

A wider pelvis, altering the angle of the thighbone and alignment of the knee and ankle, potentially increasing the risk of sustaining injuries in those places.

The intercondylar notch, which is a groove in the femur that the ACL passes through tends to be smaller in women than men, making it more prone to injury.

Higher levels of oestrogen, which is theorised to weaken the ACL ligament. One study found that ACL injuries tended to be more prevalent in women during the menstrual cycle when estrogen levels were higher.

A combination of less developed quadricep and hamstring muscles as well as looser ligaments, which allows for greater flexibility but leads to an increased risk of ACL injury.

Female athletes also tend to move differently, which might predispose them to certain injuries. For example, when landing from a jump, female athletes tend to land more upright and with their knees closer together. When women suddenly change direction, they tend to do so on one foot (possibly due to a wider pelvis), while men tend to “cut” from both feet.

Female Athletes and Concussion

Research shows that young female athletes have nearly double the risk of concussion compared to male athletes. This includes a range of sports commonly played in Melbourne, including soccer and basketball. The reason for this is not clear. Possible explanations include differences in head and neck strength and hormonal differences.

It’s essential to seek medical treatment as soon as possible, as delaying treatment can prolong the recovery time. Research does indicate female athletes seek specialty medical treatment later than male athletes for sports-related concussions, and this delay may cause them to experience more symptoms and longer recoveries.

Reducing Sports Injuries Among Female Athletes

Fortunately, women can take steps to reduce the likelihood of suffering these sports injuries. This includes strengthening muscles, especially the hamstring and vastus medialis (muscles along the inside of the thigh and knee) to prevent ACL injuries. Training to change direction using both feet, training to land from jumps in a safer position, and targeted weight-lifting programmes can also help. Bracing can help limit ankle sprain while Orthotics (shoe inserts) may provide more support for those prone to plantar fasciitis or other foot injuries.

Visit Our Wellness Clinics in Melbourne

Pinnacle Health Group provides a range of services including physiotherapy, massage, clinical pilates, yoga and more. If you’re injured or need health advice, book an appointment for one of our centrally based health clinics or join a wellness class near you.

When You Should See a Podiatrist

Save Download Preview Pain in the foot, girl holds her hands to her feet, foot massage, cramp, muscular spasm, red accent on the foot, close-up

As Podiatrist’s we’re often asked ‘what do people come and see you for?’ The answer is often a long winded response involving foot and ankle pain, shin pain, toenail or hard skin issues. The role of a Podiatrist is quite often misunderstood by the community. 

Put simply, Podiatrist’s are lower limb experts whose job it is to prevent, diagnose, treat and rehabilitate conditions of the foot and lower limb. 

To help you decide when you should see a Podiatrist, check out the questions below. If you answer YES to any of these, it’s time to book in to see a Podiatrist. 

 

  1. Can you can only walk for a short period before your feet or legs hurt?  
  2. Do you experience pain in your lower limbs at night?  
  3. Do you experience tingling in your feet?  
  4. Have you noticed your legs or feet are swollen?  
  5. Do you have cuts or fissures on your feet that take a long time to heal?  
  6. Are you returning to sport after an injury?  
  7. Are you uncertain about which running or sports shoe to buy?  
  8. Do you find that you wear out the outside of your shoes quickly?  
  9. Have you noticed your toes poke holes in the top of your shoes? 
  10. Does your forefoot become hot and painful after running or walking? 
  11. Do your hips hurt?  
  12. Has pain in your feet or legs stopped you from exercising?  
  13. Are you worried about your child’s feet?  
  14. Do you have arthritis in your feet?  
  15. Do you experience reoccurring gouty attacks?  
  16. Are you worried about the thickness of your nails?  
  17. Do you have discoloured toe nails?  
  18. Are you worried about your foot odour?  
  19. Do your toe nails cause you pain?  
  20. Have you noticed your toes are clawed? 
  21. Do you have hard skin on your feet? Is it getting worse?  
  22. Do you find it hard to cut your own nails? 
  23. Do you find it hard to fit your feet into shoes because of your bunion

Don’t let pain stop you from putting your best foot forward , See your Podiatrist today!