The female athlete is something special. Since the passage of Title IX, which required schools to begin providing athletic activities for women just as they had for men, female
athletes have made huge strides in gaining equality on the playing field. However, there are still fundamental things that a female athlete must contend with, that her male counterparts do not.
Girls are made differently than boys. Simple as that. They have different hormones, looser ligaments, and a wider pelvis. The wider female pelvis affects the alignment and movement of the hands and feet. Also, due to higher estrogen levels, women have more body fat than men. Their bodies are generally less muscular, but their joints are more flexible, giving them a greater range of motion – a huge advantage in sports such as gymnastics.
Because of these physical differences, women are more prone to injuring joints such as the shoulders and the knees. Specifically, the injury rate to the ACL, a major knee ligament, is significantly higher in female than in male athletes. Females are four to five times more likely to have a non-contact ACL injury than males. And 65 percent of athletes (male and female) will no longer play their sport within seven years after an ACL injury. But with proper training and strengthening of supporting muscles, women can prevent such injuries. Here are seven more ways the female athlete can reduce their risk of injury:
1. Do not allow knees to go inward during jumping, landing, cutting and pivoting
2. Land softly with knees bent
3. Core/trunk control needs to be part of training
4. Increase awareness when adolescents have a growth spurt as they may be more at risk for injury
5. Maintain a balanced diet and stay hydrated
6. Train on dry/safe surfaces
7. See a trained physical therapist to identify weaknesses and work to strengthen them before an injury
As a female athlete myself, I understand the challenges that women face as they compete at a higher level. I am committed to working with you, or your daughter, to ensure you are performing at the highest level that you can, safely. If you’d like some tips on how to recover from frequently seen sports injuries check out my free report on The 7 Secret Recovery Strategies that Only the Pro Athletes Know and Use. And as always, if you’d like to know what we can do for you, feel free to give us a call for a free phone consultation, (561) 366-2435.