by Jolijt T '11

Girls With ACL Problems

A loud “pop!” a “snap”, a torn ACL
and your out for the season. A torn
ACL is the most common knee injury.
The ACL or anterior cruciate ligament
is a stabilizing ligament connecting
the thighbone to the shinbone. Soccer,
basketball and volleyball are the
sports with the highest rates or ACL
injuries. Both women and men injure
their ACL in non-contact situations
such as falling on it or twisting your
knee. However orthopedic research
collected in 1995 shows ACL injury
patterns differ between men and
When it comes to ACL injuries
women got the down part of
the deal. The rates of ACL injuries in
women basketball players is two
times higher then those of men. In
soccer female players are four times
more likely to tear their ACL. Females
between the ages of 15-25 are
at the highest risk of an ACL injury.
So why are the ACL injury rates so
much higher among women?
A female’s biomechanical
structure places more stress on
quadriceps muscles. According to researchers
women athletes should
learn to use their hamstring muscles
more often to decrease chances of
injury. Women tend to land flat footed
when jumping. This can contribute
to injury rates especially because
60% of ACL injuries in female basketball
players come from landing a
Some researchers suggest
hormones may be to blame. There
are no current restrictions on activities
during a female’s menstrual
cycle. Orthopedic researchers say
there will be a future investigation
into the effect a women’s hormones
have on ACL injuries. However, for
now there is no evidence a
woman’s hormones increase the
risk of injury.
In teenager’s (especially
girls) it is common to experience a
dull, aching pain behind the
kneecap and on both sides of the
knee. The pain begins gradually
and flares up during activities and at
night. Your thighs may grow weak
and begin to buckle and give away.
When this occurs you may need to
consider changing your training routine.
Continuing activity won’t make
your knee worse but it will hurt
more. If you get treatment for pain
behind the kneecap it is usually
treatable without surgery how ever
if you experience pain below the
kneecap that’s a different issue.
The anatomy of the knee
allows it to bend and carry heavy
loads. The joint that allows it to do
both at the same time is sensitive
to problems in alignment, training
and overuse. Excessive pressure
may cause the kneecap to shift out
of its grove. This excessive pressure
can be caused by:
• Abnormal hip rotation
• Using the wrong sports
techniques or equipment
• Inflexible thigh muscles
• Overuse of the muscles
There are a few techniques that
may prevent a recurrence. If you
feel any pain you should stop. Always
make sure you’re wearing the
right shoes and stretch before you
exercise. The best solutions for
painful knees are rest and ice. Talk
to a doctor and you might want to
request physical therapy to rehabilitate
your knee.
Knees are extremely complex and
can create problems for everyone.
Many obese people also suffer
from pain. Talk to your doctor if you
experience pain and swelling.


By Mr. Lakhaney

TOK Teacher

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