It has been 51 years since the passage of Title IX which guarantees equal access for girls and women in schools that accept federal funding. Young women’s participation in high school sports is now 12 times higher than when the law was passed in 1972. There are multiple benefits for women of all ages, but at the same time there is the risk of injury. Let’s take a look at preventing common sports injuries in female athletes.
Runner’s Knee in Female Athletes
Sometimes called biker’s knee, this is a common problem for adolescent women through middle-age women. This is caused by a weakness in the muscles that rotate the hip outward and in rotating the knee inward. This causes a misalignment problem at the kneecap with pain in front of the knee. You feel the pain, especially climbing stairs, any activity that requires balancing on one leg, or sitting for long periods.
Preventing Runner’s Knee
Strive to strengthen the weak muscles causing the misalignment problem.
Tendonitis in Female Athletes
Female athletes are more likely to experience overuse injuries than males like inflammation of a tendon, known as tendonitis. Types of tendonitis like those of the shoulder, knee, and elbow are caused by excessive repetitive use of a joint. Women are three times more likely to have shoulder injuries and two times as likely to have knee tendonitis. Tendonitis symptoms like pain and tenderness usually occur during play, at rest, or both.
Hip tendonitis causes pain on what’s known as the knobby side of the hip joint. It hurts when you are lying on your side or with other types of activities. Several buttock muscles are attached to the hip via tendons. When the buttock muscles are weak, there is stress on the tendons causing hip pain. This pain can also travel through the buttocks and down the sides of the hip and thigh.
The only way to prevent tendonitis is to re-strengthen the affected muscles.
Stress Fractures in Female Athletes
Stress fractures are another type of overuse injury. They are caused by repetitive force on a bone from running or jumping. The tiny bone cracks are painful and usually occur in the shin (tibia) or the foot.
Preventing Stress Fractures
Many stress fractures are due to the same force applied repeatedly. This causes bones to fracture. Mix up your workouts and conditioning across all areas of your body so other parts can rest and regenerate.
Torn ACLs in Female Athletes
Tears of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in the knee is one of the most common injuries among women. Female soccer and basketball athletes are 2 to 7 times more likely to have an ACL tear than men.
Women normally land on knees extended straight rather than flexed. This can lead to more stress and make the ACL more vulnerable.
Preventing ACL Tears
Women can lower their risk of ACL tears by performing exercises to strengthen and stabilize muscles around the knee.
Tips to Prevent Common Female Sports Injuries
- You can prevent overuse injuries by limiting training time and varying activities that create muscle balance.
- Use a day to work on Pilates based muscle exercises to promote balance and core strength.
- Varying activities is especially important for young girls. Young athletes who play organized sports for more than 8 consecutive months are at a higher risk of overuse injuries.
- Overuse injuries rarely require surgery, but injections of cortisone can help. Ice, rest, and anti-inflammatory meds, plus physical therapy will help as well as wearing a support brace.
- Calcium and Vitamin D are essential nutrients to preserve bone health.
- Watch landings. Try hitting the ground with flexibility in your hips and knees to cushion the impact. Keep your knees pointed forward and use hamstrings along with quads to absorb energy.
Make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon a Carrollton Orthopedics if you are recovering from an injury or want more tips to prevent another. Schedule an appointment at our offices in and around Carrollton today.