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Why do women get more cruciate tears than men?

As women increasingly enter competitive and demanding sports, surgeons are seeing more and more women with cruciate injuries.

Researchers are identifying a number of reasons for the high incidence of cruciate injury in women:

Women have a narrower notch in the femur

It is speculated that the narrower intercondylar notch (the notch between the two rounded ends of the femur bone) in women may contribute to cruciate damage.

Women's injuries appear related to their ovulation cycle

Research has demonstrated that women who injure their cruciate ligament are more likely to do so mid-cycle.

Women have relatively weak hamstrings compared to men

The strength of the quadriceps is stronger compared to the hamstrings muscle in women, while men have more balanced muscles.

Women have a less flexible stance and stiffer landing during sporting activities

Women tend to keep their trunks more upright than men during sporting activities, and tend to use the squatting position less. Women tend to absorb the impact of landing poorly in comparison to men.

With specific training the incidence of cruciate damage in women approaches that in men.

Updated: 16 Apr, 2013
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