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Why Are Women More Prone to ACL Tears

ACL Tears Are More Common in Women The Men


Female athletes have a higher risk of tearing or injuring their ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) why is that? Females are 2 to 10 times more likely to injure their ACL in comparison to their male counterparts. We aren’t exactly sure why this is the case, but some theories have been proposed. The most recent study highlighted the differences in the biomechanics (the movement of our bodies) of both male and female athletes. The outcome of the study was that it was possible to prevent ACL meniscus tears in females.



Theories About Why ACL Injuries Are More Prevalent In Women


ACL knee tears and injuries are always a big concern for athletes and those who engage in physical activity on a daily basis. Men and women are built different and have differently shaped skeletons, so their muscular structure will be different as well. But why is it that women injure their ACL so much more than men? Here are some theories:


  • Anatomic Differences: Men and women are physically different. Their pelvis width, Q-angle, size of the ACL, and the size of the intercondylar notch all vary between the sexes. An ACL tear could be caused by anatomical differences in the female’s body compared to the male’s.
  • Hormonal Differences: The ACL has hormone receptors for estrogen and progesterone. Theories are suggesting that hormone concentration could play a role in ACL injuries. However, many scientists debunked this theory saying that the menstrual cycle has little effect on ACL tears. 
  • Biomechanical Differences: The stability of the knee is said to make a difference on how often the ACL could be torn. Women are known to have different joints and ligaments that connect from their knee than men and so have different biomechanical movements. This can result in more knee ACL tears. 


The biomechanical argument is the strongest one and some studies have proven that ACL injury rates are most likely linked to biomechanical differences between men and women. When women land from jumping, their knees tend to land in a straight position unlike men who land with their knees more bent. Women tend to have a “knock-kneed” appearance where their knees have an increased valgus angle. This causes more stress to be placed on the knee joint and ligaments surrounding thus causing more ACL knee injuries. 


Preventing ACL Knee Injuries in Females


By training the body to be safer and more stable with movement, we can effectively prevent ACL injuries. Neuromuscular training programs train you to put less pressure on your joints and will reduce the likelihood of an ACL tear while performing sports-related or other activities. When women perform this type of training their risk goes down about to the same risk as men. Applying therapies such as acupuncture therapy and massage to the body are great ways to prevent and treat ACL injuries. Acupuncture stimulates certain acupuncture points and relaxes the muscles around the knee which helps to prevent injuries in those areas. If you’re a female athlete or a female that engages in physical activity regularly, consider visiting your acupuncturist in San Diego or your local area on a regular basis. These therapies not only revive the body, but they also energize the mind and the nervous system. 


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