Women are four to ten times more likely to injure their Anterior Cruciate Ligament (better known as the ACL) than men.
Studies have shown that neuromuscular control and the techniques used when stopping suddenly, landing from a jump or switching direction quickly play a large role in this discrepancy. Because of this, neuromuscular training is now becoming a routine component of training for both female and male athletes.
These non-contact injuries to a woman’s ACL are caused by the biomechanics of their hip and knee when they land or cut suddenly. Their knee tends to rotate inward, which opens up the joint. Because boys undergo a neuromuscular growth spurt during puberty, their knees rotate outward and their hips also move outward lowering the stress on the ACL, which lowers the risk. Girls do not undergo this type of growth.
The lack of neuromuscular control of a woman’s trunk while she is playing a sport also puts her at risk for an ACL injury. This lack of control makes it harder to position her body’s center of gravity. Making quick changes in position while not maintaining a proper center of gravity places a lot of stress on the ACL when landing or stopping short.
ACL injury prevention training is more important than ever as science begins to understand the biological reasons why women tend to injure their ACL more often than men.