After 2 two weeks of Olympics coverage, many viewers tuned in to enjoy the most popular sport on the planet – soccer. The popularity of the sport is at an all-time high, and individuals across the country are currently spending their summer months competing at various levels.

Unfortunately, with an increase in interest and participation comes an increase in related injuries. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears are one of the most common sport-related injuries, and soccer players have more of this kind of knee injury than athletes in any other sport.

According to the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, about 150,000 ACL injuries occur in the United States each year. Female athletes are three times more likely to suffer this injury than their male counterparts, explaining why thousands of studies have been conducted on knee injuries in women.

Originally, many assumed that women suffered more knee injuries because their anatomy could not sustain the same kind of sports-related stress. Research seemed to show that the wider hips of females created increased stress across the knee and ligaments during play. However, recent findings now dispute the wide-hip explanation, instead pointing to hormones as the culprit. During certain phases of the menstrual cycle, the ACL actually becomes more prone to injury because of changes in levels of estrogen.

Another reason for a higher rate of knee injuries in female athletes might be muscle imbalances in the lower limbs. While past research blamed the muscles above the knee, newer findings are suggesting that weaker hips are playing a greater role in knee injury than previously thought.

Lastly, female soccer players tend to rotate their knees inward during takeoff and landing when running and jumping, which in turn puts massive stress on the soft tissues of the knee. In this case, simply teaching proper jumping and landing techniques can significantly lower the risk of injury.

If you have sustained an injury to the ACL, Dr. Millstein can help you return to full sport performance. If you would like to schedule a consultation, give us a call at (310) 595-1030 today!

Dr. Millstein

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