Young female athletes are suffering knee injuries which could be avoided with special conditioning and awareness.
Adolescent girl athletes are as much as eight times more likely to injure their knee’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) than their male counterparts, according to a recent study led by Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian and Columbia University Medical Center.
The study posits two primary reasons for girls’ increased susceptibility to ACL injuries. First, adolescent girls tend to develop increased quadriceps strength, while not increasing hamstring strength. With very strong quads overpowering the hamstrings, an imbalance occurs, leading to undue stress on the ACL. Second, girls become skeletally mature earlier during puberty, and they tend to perform their sports activities in a more upright position that adds stress to the ACL.
Dr. Ahmad suggests tips for girls on how to prevent ACL injuries, including making them more aware of their upright position during activities like landing from a jump and training them to assume a more flexed stance. He also suggests strengthening of hamstring, hip and core muscles.