In general, musculoskeletal injuries are sport specific rather than gender specific. However, data collected since 1995 suggest that anterior cruciate ligament injury patterns are different in women and men who participate in the same sports (soccer, basketball and volleyball). The incidence of ACL injuries among women basketball players is twice that for men, and female soccer players are four times more likely to suffer an ACL tear than their male counterparts. Both women and men incur ACL injuries in non-contact situations, nearly 60% of ACL injuries in female basketball players occur when landing from a jump. Following are training methods that could help prevent the risk of injury:
- Safer Jumping Skills-
Women do not bend their knees as much as men do when landing from a jump causing more pressure on the joint. Learning to land reducing the forces per pound of body weight should be taught early.
- Cutting Maneuvers-
Women turn and pivot in a more erect position, which strains the ACL. Learning to crouch and bend at the knees and hips could reduce stress on the ACL.
- Muscle Control Techniques-
Strengthening and flexibility training of the hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and hip muscles should be part of a year round training program. Skill drills will improve balance and coordination and prepare the athlete before the season starts.
Roseville Health and Wellness Center