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Study takes next step -- Why women suffer more knee injuries

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Female athletes are up to eight times more likely to suffer knee injuries during their careers than males, and now researchers may be closer to understanding why.

A recent study of 10 female and 10 male NCAA athletes completed within the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Cleveland Clinic found that female athletes tend to land from a jump with a more flexed ankle, the foot rolling outward with an elevated arch, and more knee abduction and knee internal rotation compared to male athletes.

When fatigued, differences between women and men in these movements and loads were even larger, possibly explaining why females may be at greater risk of non-contact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury during landing

The study's lead researcher, Scott McLean, was previously at Cleveland Clinic and is now an assistant professor with the Division of Kinesiology at the University of Michigan. The study will be published in the March issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

According to the NCAA, female athletes are at least twice as likely to suffer an ACL injury as male athletes and in some cases up to eight times more likely. Research shows that one in 10 female athletes will experience an ACL injury at some point in their career.

"Before we can even consider trying to successfully prevent ACL injuries in both men and women, we need to clearly identify their underlying causes or mechanisms," McLean said. "This study presents an important step in achieving these ultimate research goals. It seems that when fatigued, the potential for an athlete to execute poor decisions, reactions and thus movement responses is greatly increased. Our next step is to determine how we can effectively combat these effects."

"Fatigue affects individuals differently. As we begin to pinpoint how fatigue relates to joint motion during sports movements, we hope to gain a better understanding of how A
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Contact: Laura Bailey
baileylm@umich.edu
734-647-7087
University of Michigan
7-Mar-2007


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