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Knee-Savers for Female Athletes

A study conducted by Dr. William Garrett, Jr. of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine suggests that women athletes can reduce their risk of knee injuries by bending their knees more when they run.

Dr. Garrett believes that women’s greater risk of anterior cruciate ligament (knee joint) ruptures is caused by a difference in body posture — women tend to hold their bodies in a more upright position while they run and are less likely to bend at the knee or hip. Garrett has hypothesize that, by bending their knees and “crouching” a little while they run, women can reduce the amount of force exerted on their quadriceps muscles, thereby reducing their risk of anterior cruciate ligament ruptures.

In addition to bending less frequently than men, analysis of men and women’s sports posture also showed that women used less knee rotation and hamstring activation than did men. Georgia State University team physician Dr. Letha Griffin reports yet another difference between men and women’s sports postures, noting that women athletes’ knees point outward more than do men’s during sports activities. “We also need to be more aware of developing strong pelvic muscles in females because women tilt their pelvis more than men, which gives you more hip extension and more elongation of the hamstrings, which may affect peak strength,” she said.

Sources:

Reuters - February 5, 1999