Research indicates that female athletes are four to six times more likely to sustain a serious knee injury in cutting and jumping sports, such as basketball, soccer, volleyball, tennis and lacrosse. Though researchers are not yet certain as to the mechanics behind this trend, they have three major theories. Some researchers believe that some of the sex hormones in females produce joint laxity that puts females at greater risk for joint injuries. A second theory is that a female’s wider pelvis positions the knee joints at an angle that makes falls and injuries more likely to occur. Thirdly, females tend to have weaker anterior cruciate ligaments (or ACLs). These three factors alone or in combination result in a higher risk for knee injuries among female athletes.
Fortunately, plyometric and strength training exercises can strengthen the muscles that support the ACL, thereby addressing one of the factors that makes women more susceptible to knee injuries. A licensed physical therapist can design and supervise a plyometrics and strength-training program to help female (and male) athletes reduce the chances of certain knee and other joint injuries.