Almost 20 years ago, we started to see a noticeable increase in the number of youth athletes with ACL tears and ACL reconstruction. Youth participation in sports was becoming much more prevalent. In particular, what we noticed was an epidemic proportion of young women between the ages of 13-17 who were coming in with ACL tears, far more than males. Later, we discovered that female athletes were 8x more likely to sustain an ACL tear than males.
Why was this happening?
There were a number of factors that we found contributed to this incidence in females-
While there has been some reduction in females sustaining ACL injuries since then, they are still at a much higher risk, particularly in females who play soccer, volleyball, basketball, and lacrosse.
What can be done about this?
- Less hamstring muscle recruitment in females compared to males
- Less strength and conditioning opportunities for females
- Higher joint laxity (looseness) in females
- More knee collapsing in females during running and cutting
- Higher incidence of non-contact ACL tears in females
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Having a pre-ACL injury assessment and running form analysis can help us better identify which athletes may be more prone to ACL tears and what types of activities to program into their workouts. While no professional can fully predict or prevent injuries from happening, we do know that key activities include hip and knee alignment, sport-specific strength work, and habit modification can be quite helpful regardless in sports performance.
Interested in having your son or daughter getting their running form screened and tested?
Email us at email@example.com to learn more about our RunDNA 3D running form analysis.
ACL Tears in Youth Athletes: Are female athletes at a higher risk for tears?