Injury differences between males and females

There are certain injuries that differ between male and female.  In my office, I tend to see more women with shoulder instability or shoulder subluxations. For example, a young female athlete such as a volleyball player may come in with a shoulder that can slide partially out of the socket, which is called subluxation. Generally, they have not had a major injury to cause the condition. In contrast, I probably see more males who dislocate their shoulders but this is due to a traumatic injury such as a major fall in the terrain park.

Dr. Cunningham with knee patientAnother notable difference is with ACL tears. Women are more at risk for an ACL tear. This is due to several factors but mostly neuromuscular. When landing, women tend to land in a knockneed alignment. They also land with their center of gravity behind their knee (“landing in the back seat”). These positions can place greater force on the ACL and cause it to tear. Women’s ACLs are also generally smaller in diameter than males and their tissues are generally more lax creating a predisposition to tearing the ACL. And finally, the intercondylar notch at the end of a female femur is narrower and can more easily pinch the ACL in sports and predispose it to tear. Some question whether there are hormonal factors at play but this is unproven.

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