Preventing Knee Injuries In Female Athletes

Female athletic programs are growing by leaps and bounds and with those leaps come an increase in knee injuries. Female athletes have a much higher rate of non-contact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) Injuries. This means they injure their knees without contacting another athlete. The injuries occur from sharp cutting, or jumping.

The rate of ACL injuries may be 2 to 8 times that of men. There are many reasons why the female athlete is at higher risk. Some reasons have included: increased laxity (looseness) of the ACL, from elevated estrogen levels, the size of the female knee joint, specifically the area of the knee known as the "notch", and the size of the ACL. Females generally have a narrower notch than men and this may impinge on the ACL, injuring it.

As a general rule, females have wider hips, which place increased stress on their knees and their ACLs. Recent studies show female leg musculature is slower to respond, especially the hamstrings, to forward motion of the leg, putting increased strain on the ACL. A study of both male and female collegiate basketball players showed that female athletes tend to land from jumping activities in a more upright position with knees straighter than men. It also showed women tend to land with their knees in a more knocked-kneed position, which places increased stress on the ACL.

There is mounting evidence that preseason core and hamstring strengthening may help prevent ACL injuries in female athletes. Preseason training focused on proper jumping and landing techniques is helpful in preventing ACL injuries along with increasing the firing speed of the hamstrings.

Call 1.800.4BAYLOR or visit for a physician referral or to learn more about the ACL Injury Prevention Program at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano.

Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano is a 112-bed acute care hospital committed to serving North Texas residents with personalized care and advanced technology on a beautiful campus with hotel-like amenities and all private rooms. Services at the not-for-profit, fully-accredited facility include treatment for advanced spine deformities at the Baylor Scoliosis Center, neurosciences, orthopedics, medical and radiation oncology, surgical weight loss, women's services, gynecology, urology, gastroenterology, pulmonary medicine, sleep disorders, pain management, diabetes management and more. Patients have access to digital imaging onsite at Baylor Plano and at the Baylor Diagnostic Imaging Center at Craig Ranch, an outpatient department of Baylor Plano. The hospital is the first in North Dallas and Collin County to offer minimally invasive robotic surgery for procedures through the FDA-approved da Vinci® S Surgical System. Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano ranks six on U.S. News & World Report's first-ever Best Hospitals metro area ranking for the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Baylor Plano is also a 2010 recipient of the Texas Award for Performance Excellence and houses an Accredited Community Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Program by the American College of Surgeons Commissions on Cancer. Baylor Plano is the first hospital in Collin County to be accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers.Jerri Garison is president of Baylor Plano. For more information, or a physician referral, call toll free 1-800-4-BAYLOR or log onto

Kayci Prince
Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano
(469) 814-2109

Janeen Browning
Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano
(469) 814-2108

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