6/12/13

WWW: We play like a girl

Primarily I want to say that this is one of the best articles to be posted on here. It outlines a real issue among women athletes. Just being around the college sports scene has shown me how many females suffer from preventable ailments, all because they have poor mechanics. I highly recommend that any woman who participates in movement should read this and then tell their friends.

Since I am a woman and today is Wednesday, I thought we would tackle something just for women. (However, if you are a man and ever want to help or coach women, this would be beneficial for you as well.) In the past decade or so, the speed, power, aggressiveness, and intensity demanded by female athletes have increased dramatically. Today we are discussing the body of a woman athlete. It’s no secret that ours is a little different than males and we use different muscles and build muscle and fat in different areas. So, it would only make sense that we become injured in different areas as well. These physiological differences show up around age 10-12 and are seen between form, alignment, composition, and the way we perform physically. For example, women are usually more flexible and have wider pelvises and less developed musculature. This affects women’s extremities in great ways.


                So we’ll start with the knee. This is no surprise to anyone since the ACL and patella injury are some of the most common. In fact, the most common cause of permanent disability in women’s high school basketball is knee injuries. 91% of knee injuries are season ending and 94% require surgery, and between 20,000-80,000 female athletes experience an ACL injury each year. ACL injuries are 3 to six times higher in women, especially when they’re involved in soccer, basketball, volleyball, and sports that don’t require a lot of contact. This injury is usually not from contact but from sudden deceleration or jumping and landing more upright, changing directions, cutting, etc. This injury can be due to many factors such as: women have narrower intercondylar notch and smaller ACL, wider pelvis and hips, more lax ligaments, slower reflex time, and possibly changes in estrogen during a cycle. Another thing to be aware of is that after ACL injuries, it is not uncommon to have arthritis in that knee later in life.

                The next is shoulder injuries. Once again, men are usually stronger on the top than women, unless you’ve been a gymnast since birth or just have incredible genetics. Without these stronger shoulder muscles, there can become some instability in the shoulder. Once sports such as swimming, softball, or volleyball are factored in, there’s a huge risk for rotator cuff weakness, tightness, and pain.

                Stress fractures are another common one especially in women athletes who place a high demand on aesthetics such as runners and ballet dancers. These injuries are common overuse injuries that result from cumulative repetitive forces insufficient to cause an acute fracture and cause a small crack in the bone. These are usually found in lower-extremity bones but can occur in non-weight-bearing bones like the upper extremities and ribs. A common area for these to occur in women who begin extreme exercise are the hips. A stress fracture will usually have localized tenderness to palpation at the fracture site, unless the stress fracture is deeper. In that case, there may be pain through gentle ranges of motion or diagnostic tests.

                One of the most common overuse injuries for runners is ITBFS (iliotibial band friction syndrome). It is caused by repetitive and numerous flexion and extension movements of the knee.
notice the collapsed knees and lack of external rotation. 

                Although these certainly aren’t all, these are just a few to highlight and keep you aware of your body. Next week we’ll go over how to prevent and treat these injuries. But until then, go Endu America!

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.