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!

 

 

Quick Tips for Marathon Training

Runners run urban marathon in the the city

1 – Look Down

Test out the shoes and socks that you plan on wearing on race day. If the shoes aren’t your regular training shoes, wear them on at least one 12-15 km run at marathon pace. This test run will determine whether you’re likely to develop blisters or get sore feet–before it’s too late. If the shoes bother you on this run, get yourself another pair.
 

2 – Don’t get greedy 

Try to stick to your training plan in the weeks leading up to the race. You’re not cramming for a test so running more KM’s than you’re used to late in your training can hinder your performance rather than help it. 
 

3 – Taper

During your final week you should feel like you’re storing up energy, physically and mentally. Keep runs short, try to get good sleep and keep stress at bay. Get work projects under control, decline late night invitations and try to avoid long flights if possible. You should arrive on the start line feeling fresh and ready to smash your goals! 
 
The Melbourne Marathon is only a couple of weeks away. If you have any questions, niggles or need some more personalised advice get in touch today!

Runner’s Knee: Iliotibial Band Syndrome

What Is Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

Iliotibial band syndrome is a condition that commonly presents in runners and typically causes pain at the outer aspect of the knee, where the iliotibial band (ITB) crosses the knee joint.

Iliotibial band syndrome describes a condition where the iliotibial band rubs against a bony prominence at the outer aspect of the knee and typically causes inflammation and damage to local tissue.

If you are suffering from iliotibial band syndrome, don’t delay. Book to see a healthcare professional who will work with you to keep your body in top condition.

What is the Iliotibial Band (ITB)?

The iliotibial band (ITB) is a long band of connective tissue that runs down the outer aspect of the thigh. It originates from two muscles on the outer aspect of the hip (the tensor fascia latae (TFL) and gluteus maximus – figure 1) and runs down past the knee to attach into the lower leg bone (tibia). As the ITB crosses the knee, it overlies a bony prominence known as the femoral epicondyle. As the knee bends and straightens, the ITB flicks over this bony prominence, which places friction on the ITB and local soft tissue. If this friction becomes excessive or too repetitive, such as during excessive running, the ITB or local tissue can become damaged or inflamed resulting in pain. When this occurs the condition is known as Iliotibial band syndrome.

Signs And Symptoms Of Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Patients with iliotibial band syndrome usually experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Pain on the outer aspect of the knee
  • Aggravated by repetitive bending and straightening of the knee
  • Aggravated by downhill running
  • Pain may be worse in the morning, or after cooling down post-activity
  • pain on firm touch where the ITB crosses the outer aspect of the knee
  • The ITB may ‘click’ with bending and straightening of the knee

Contributing Factors In The Development Of Iliotibial Band Syndrome

There are several factors which can predispose patients to develope Iliotibial band syndrome. These need to be assessed and corrected with direction from a physiotherapist. Some of these factors include:

  • excessively tight ITB
  • muscle tightness (particularly TFL, gluteus maximus, or vastus lateralis)
  • excessive or inappropriate training or activity
  • abnormal biomechanics
  • excessive pronation (ie flat feet)
  • poor pelvic or core stability
  • muscle strength imbalances
  • muscle weakness (especially the VMO and gluteal muscles)
  • tightness in specific joints (hip, knee or ankle)
  • inappropriate footwear or surfaces
  • poor running technique

Treatment For Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Most cases of Iliotibial band syndrome settle well with appropriate physiotherapy. This requires careful assessment by the physiotherapist to determine which factors have contributed to the development of the condition, with subsequent correction of these factors.

Some of the key components of early management are:

  • Ice and possible anti-inflammatory use (as advised by your health care practitioner)
  • Adequate rest to allow symptoms to settle
  • Pain free stretching and flexibility work
  • Assessment by your Physiotherapist

Physiotherapy For Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Physiotherapy treatment for Iliotibial band syndrome is vital to hasten the healing process, ensure an optimal outcome and reduce the likelihood of recurrence. Treatment may comprise:

  • soft tissue massage (particularly to the ITB)
  • mobilisation
  • dry needling
  • ice or heat treatment
  • exercises to improve flexibility, strength and balance
  • activity modification advice
  • biomechanical correction
  • anti-inflammatory advice
  • clinical Pilates and core stability exercises
  • footwear advice