Austin Sports Medicine: Women and Increased ACL Injury Risks

It’s time for another Austin Sports Medicine 101 class! In our last couple of blogs, we’ve discussed the specifics of ACLs and how to prevent them from tearing. We’ve also mentioned that women are far more susceptible to ACL injuries than men – 8 times more predisposed, actually! So why do women have a higher risk?

Differences in Anatomy (males vs females)

  • Width of pelvis
  • The Q-angle of the kneecap (The Q-angle for most men is 14 degrees while 17 degrees for women)
  • ACL size
  • Size of the intercondylar notch (location of ACL crossing knee joint)
  • While studies have shown that these varying factors affect ACL tears, they aren’t yet able to assist in predicting exactly who may be at greater risk for ACL tear.

Differences in Hormones

  • The ACL has hormone receptors for estrogen and progesterone, which has led to theories that the hormone concentration has an effect on ACL injuries.
  • Studies have shown changes in rates of ACL injury are reflected by different stages of the menstrual cycle.
  • Because of some conflicting data, the true effect of hormone concentration on ACL injury risk isn’t yet understood.

Differences in Bio-mechanics

  • Knee stability is determined by various factors. The two most important are:
    • The static stabilizers of knees, which are the major ligaments and include the ACL.
    • The dynamic stabilizers of the knees, which include the muscles and tendons surrounding the joint.
  • Females have differences in knee bio-mechanic movements when pivoting, jumping and landing. These activities are often culprits of an ACL injury.

If you have questions or have needs regarding sports medicine in Austin or the surrounding areas, visit us at, call or send us an email!