Knee Injuries in Female Athletes

In the last couple of weeks, I unfortunately had an opportunity to learn a lot about the knee injuries in female athletes – primarily because my daughter had a bit of a scare (which thankfully turned out to be minor).

It turns out that female athletes have an inordinate number of knee injuries.  While there is some debate about the underlying reasons (some think it has to do with hip geometry of post-adolescent female athletes, others think that its the lack of weight training that girls do after puberty), the answer does seem to indicate more stringent physical training for these competitors.

I’ve attached some research and information from the University of Cincinnati that was sent to me – I encourage all female athletes and their parents/coaches to read it (and any other information that they can get their hands on).  Then, I’d encourage our women fencers (or those who are responsible for our women fencers) to speak with their doctors and coaches and develop a training plan to improve strength around these very important joints.

We can encourage these athletes to do the training necessary to reduce the incidence of these injuries – and prolong their enjoyment of our sport.  Thanks!

Gary Zeiss
Chair

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2 Responses

  1. While I appreciate Gary’s concerns and agree with his conclusion, I wanted to add other research. Please see:

    http://escholar.salve.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1013&context=jift for an excellent article out of University of Arizona by Emily M. Schmit, MS, JD.

    Misplaced Focus: Assumptions about Sex
    Hormones and ACL Injury in Female Athletes

    Furthermore, I have seen plenty of fencers – female and male who are unable to hold their core in place above their knees.

    I think it is important to slow down footwork and ancillary practices in order to focus on correct technique and form

  2. The article mentioned by Simome makes some very interesting points about societal issues and their effect from a feminist point of view. No doubt, societal expectations play a significant, if not dominant, role in differing development patterns.

    For me, however, it is the answer, not the question, that is most important. In all cases, it appears that better, more advanced and comprehensive training techniques are the best way to avoid these problems. After all, the statistics are reasonably clear – a much higher injury rate, and significant traditional differences (be it nature, nurture or both) in training and techniques for female athletes.

    Thus, if you are a female athlete or the parent of one, it is time to pay attention to these key training issues before the problems occur or get worse. The evidence clearly supports this without regard to ideological perspective.

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