With the growing numbers of female participants in sport and exercise there is a corresponding incidence of injury to females. In a review of the literature the article observes that women have greater injury incidence due to differences in:
- biomechanics (the most noticeable factor),
- weakness in local musculature,
- coordination and neuromuscular fatigue,
- ligament and tendon properties,
- increased flexibility (with corresponding greater joint laxity),
- hormonal effects on connective tissue.
Injuries that are more common for women than men include:
- musculoskeletal injuries
- lower extremity injuries
- ACL injuries
- stress fractures
While there are treatments that address the specific needs of the female athlete, both men and women can benefit from the same preventive measures such as adequate stretching, appropriate warm-up and cool-down, sport-specific strengthening, and conditioning exercises. It is important however, to keep in mind the specific physiological differences when planning fitness and sporting activities.
Reference: Groeger Marlelena (2010). Injury Risks for the Female Athlete, ACSM’s health & fitness journal, 14(4), 14-21.