December 9th 2008
For many reasons, musculoskeletal injuries and conditions are more common in females than in than males. Unfortunately, these differences start early in life, as young female athletes are more likely than young male athletes to tear their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee. The ACL is one of the four major ligaments in the knee. It attaches to the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) bones in the leg. The ACL provides stability to the knee and the leg bones. The anatomy of the female knee plays a big role in girls experiencing more ACL tears. “For many girls, the female knee is different than the male knee. The female knee often has a greater ‘Q angle’ or what we commonly call ‘knock-kneed,” says Walt Beaver, MD, a family practice physician with American Health Network and owner of Velocity Sports Performance, a Carmel facility associated with Clarian Human Motion that specializes in treating athletes of all ages and providing adult fitness classes. “Because of the difference in girls’ knees, they put more stress on their knees while jumping, landing and changing directions in sports,” adds Dr. Beaver. In addition, the ACL is smaller in females than it is in males, and this is also believed to contribute to the frequency of ACL tears in female athletes, according to Thomas Klootwyk, MD, a knee surgeon with Clarian Human Motion at Methodist Sports Medicine / The Orthopedic Specialists. “In our training sessions, we spend a lot of time teaching athletes how to position their bodies in order to use their hips and hamstring muscles more, which will greatly reduce the likelihood of an ACL injury,” says Chris Powell, MS, sports performance director at Velocity Sports Performance. ACL injuries are very common in soccer, so in this sport-specific training session at Velocity, athletes learn how to change direction properly and how to decelerate and accelerate correctly. All these lessons are meant to better position the ankle, hips and knee to reduce the chance for an injury. “Sports performance training at places like Velocity Sports Performance is a great way to learn how to prevent injuries and to provide additional rehabilitation prior to an athlete going back out on the field,” says Dr. Klootwyk. For more information, contact Velocity Sports Performance at 317-848-5867 (JUMP) or visit www.velocitysp.com/carmel. To reach Dr. Klootwyk, please call 317-817-1200 or visit www.methodistsports.com.