Female athletes 6 times more likely to suffer traumatic injuries

An ACL tear during a basketball scrimmage her sophomore year kept St. Dominic Academy student Toni Giacchi on the bench for the remainder of the school year—and she’s not alone. Female athletes at all ages and ability levels are four times more likely to suffer an ACL injury than their male counterparts, according to recent studies.

“Serious knee injuries, including ACL tears, can be caused by a movement as simple as an abrupt pivot, plant or cut,” says Andrew A. Willis, M.D., sports medicine surgeon at Tri-County Orthopedics.

The environmental, hormonal and biomechanical differences between males and females are all factors when looking at the causes behind the higher rate of ACL tears in females, and sports that involve significant cutting and jumping, such as soccer, basketball, tennis and volleyball, give females, particularly teens, a higher risk of injury, due to a lack of neuromuscular control during landing or cutting.

“Young female athletes who participate in highly competitive athletic competition before their bodies have developed to handle it often experience greater muscle fatigue, which increases their chances of suffering an ACL injury,” Dr. Willis says.

While not entirely preventable, Dr. Willis says the chances of a young female athlete suffering an ACL tear can be minimized by undergoing training programs designed to address risk factors associated with them. Should an ACL tear occur, a reconstructive surgery is usually necessary to stabilize the knee. Physical therapy is also an important part of the recovery process.

A successful ACL repair surgery with Dr. Willis allowed Giacchi to return to the court this year, where she helped her team progress to the second round of the state basketball playoffs.

If you have questions regarding ACL injuries, call (973) 538-2334 to schedule an appointment with one of the doctors at Tri-County Orthopedics.

For more than 20 years, Tri-County Orthopedics and its 16 highly trained orthopedic specialists have been committed to providing excellent treatment and care for virtually every bone, joint and muscle in the body to area residents. Through the practice’s five centers of excellence at five locations in Morristown, Sparta, Bedminster and Cedar Knolls, Tri-County Orthopedics offers care for the spine (back and neck), shoulder, elbow, hand and wrist, hip, knee, foot and ankle, sports medicine, joint replacements and physical medicine and rehabilitation. Tri-County Orthopedics’ physicians proudly serve as the official orthopedic providers for Drew University, Delbarton School, Roxbury High School, Morristown-Beard School and Morris Hills High School. For more information regarding Tri-County Orthopedics and its specialists, visit www.Tri-CountyOrtho.com, “like” Tri-County Orthopedics on Facebook or follow @TriCounty_Ortho on Twitter.