The Disproportionately High Number of Female ACL Tears to Male ACL Tears Exhibited During Noncontact Activity
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Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are detrimental injuries that plague countless sports participants. The cost of reconstructing and rehabilitating the ACL is approximately $17,000 per patient. In addition, there are psychological costs as well as the potential for loss of entire seasons of sports participation, possible loss of scholarship funding, and significantly lowered academic performance. Female athlete ACL injuries occur with a 4- to 6-fold greater incidence compared with male athletes playing the same landing and cutting sports. This paper specifically focuses on why females are more at risk for ACL injuries. The greater incidence of ACL tears in females is a result of differences in: anatomy, hormones, muscle strength, and neuromuscular training. These factors tend to combine during activity and result in ACL injuries. The common mechanism of injury for a noncontact ACL injury involves deceleration of the subject with internal rotation of the femur, valgus knee positioning, and internal tibial rotation usually on a pronated, externally rotated foot. In order to prevent this injury, neuromuscular and plyometric training must be incorporated into female athletes' workouts.