orthopedics, sports medicine

Knee injury hobbles young women athletes

A new study has pointed to a disturbing trend among young female athletes.

Injury rates are highest and rising fastest among teen girls for repairs of torn knee ligaments, Reuters reports.

Researchers focused on surgery for a common knee injury known as an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, which has long been linked to intense participation in sports such as basketball and soccer.

The study of private insurance data for 148 million U.S. residents found that overall, the average annual ACL surgery rate climbed 22 percent from 2002 to 2014, when it reached 75 procedures for every 100,000 people.

For teen girls, however, the average annual knee surgery rate rose by 59 percent during the study period to 269 procedures for every 100,000 people.

At Signature Medical Group, we care about young athletes – women and men. You can trust our knowledgeable orthopedic and sports medicine experts to give you the best care for an ACL tear or other knee injuries.

We also treat injuries to the hands, wrists, shoulders and back. And you don’t have to be an athlete to come see us.  We realize the wear and tear of everyday living can affect your joints, bones and muscles.

You can often see us the same day you make an appointment. And we offer convenient hours at night and on weekends.

Health experts point out one of the reasons more young women are suffering ACL injuries is that more young women are competing in sports in general.

This is the second generation for young women to become athletes after the 1972 passage of Title IX, a law giving women the same right to participate in education and school sports as men.

Lead study author Mackenzie Herzog of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says many young women are not following proven ACL injury prevention programs.

Herzog also discussed a few trends in youth sports that may be contributing more ACL injuries.

“There are likely multiple factors contributing to the increase, including increased participation due to broader promotion of physical activity to improve health and adolescents participating in athletics more frequently and more intensely,” Herzog told Reuters.

“Two particular trends that concern us are increased trends toward year-round sports participation at a young age and the tendency to specialize in one sport early.”

Dr. Devin Peterson, a researcher at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, told Reuters that cross-training programs that include exercises to improve strength, balance, coordination and muscle control can help prevent ACL tears.

At Signature, our orthopedic and sports medicine experts will give you advice on the best training programs to keep you healthy and fit. Make an appointment today.