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Understanding the 5 Most Common Sports Injuries in Female Athletes

 

Sports injuries are common among both male and female athletes but not surprisingly, women seem to suffer more from certain injuries than their male counterparts. Whether you are a professional female athlete or are simply looking to start a new physical fitness regimen, it helps to know the five most common sports injuries in females, the most common causes of them, and how to avoid injury in the future. It also pays to know how to treat those injuries once you’ve sustained them.

1. Sprained Ankle

Oddly, this is one injury that is listed as the most common in men as well as women. Having said that, it is still more common in female athletes than in males. Sprained ankles can often be treated with ice, a compression bandage, and elevation, so they are considered one of the easiest sports injuries to treat as well as the most common.

2. Sprained and/or Dislocated Shoulder

Some sports result in shoulder issues such as torn rotator cuffs. It may be a bit milder such as inflammation of the tendons, but shoulder injuries are the second most common after ankle injuries. When the tendon becomes inflamed, ice packs help but many doctors will recommend a course of steroids, which are more effective than ice.

3. Injured Knees

While both men and women athletes commonly suffer knee injuries, these are not as predominant among females. It could be that the most common causes are in games like football and basketball, but many people also sustain knee injuries in sports like running and jumping. Ice skaters are also prone to knee injuries and sometimes a break can require a lengthy period of physical therapy. You should be able to find specialist clinics for different sports which may be worth looking to. The orthopaedic specialists at Wimbledon Clinics, for example, have a running injury clinic, cycling clinic and ski clinic. If you have injured your knees in one of these sports, then you could take a look at their information pages at www.wimbledonclinics.co.uk to see if they can help you with your injury.

4. Various Stress Fractures

Stress fractures can occur on literally any bone in the body. The type of treatment available would depend on the location and severity of the fracture, but many times therapy can’t commence until a cast is removed. The most common stress fractures in women are those sustained in the lower leg or foot. Sometimes this is a result of eating an imbalanced diet, which is also more common in women because they have a higher predominance of eating disorders such as anorexia. Sometimes an imbalance of nutrients is caused by menstruation and other times it’s the result of childbirth or multiple births in a very short amount of time. It is far better to work toward prevention, so women are recommended to eat a well-balanced diet.

5. Torn or Painful Ligaments in the Foot – Plantar Fasciitis

Here is another complaint common among women who are on their feet for long periods of time. Waitresses, hostesses, and cashiers are also prone to torn or painful ligaments, as are female athletes. Some experts believe that when the alignment of the foot is abnormal or if the arch isn’t high enough (flat feet) then plantar fasciitis can result. Plantar fasciitis is actually torn ligaments (supporting tissues) that run from the arch to the heel of the foot.

Factors Contributing to These Injuries

As mentioned above, there are some factors known to contribute to the prevalence of these injuries in female athletes. For example, it should come as no surprise that women have less muscle mass than most men and a higher fat ratio as well. They also have higher levels of oestrogen, which is known to weaken bones. Would you believe that some experts believe that wider hips alter the alignment of the knee and ankle leading to sports injuries? Further, for some reason, it is thought that women have weaker bones because they take in less calcium and Vitamin D in their diets.

While female athletes may be just as physically fit as their male counterparts, they may be more prone to injuries simply because of human biology! Childbearing can deplete the body of certain nutrients and women may have higher hormone levels (like the above-mentioned oestrogen) than men. Their bodies are built differently so they don’t bear stress and shocks as well and they typically have less muscle mass as previously mentioned. If you are going to begin an exercise regimen, it is always recommended that you get clearance to do so from your general practitioner. Prevention is always the best medicine but the good thing is, there are physical therapists and sports injury specialists who can help you get back up on your feet, keeping that body in shape.

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