The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is important in providing stability in the knee joint. In the United States there are anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 ACL injuries each year. Females are two to ten times more likely than males to sustain a ligament injury of the knee. In females there is higher proportion of noncontact ACL injury, meaning the injury occurs without contact being made at the knee or the body. The purpose of this literature review was to determine what factors have the greatest effect on the higher incidence of ACL injuries in females; with a focus on neuromuscular control, quadriceps recruitment, and hormone association. When a female had some background in neuromuscular training there was a decrease in risk for ACL injury, compared to a female athlete with no neuromuscular training. It was found that females had greater quadriceps to hamstring contraction compared to males, which increased their risk of ACL injury. This was due to a lack of trunk control, which inevitably led to knee instability; leading to injury of the knee ligaments. It was also found that there was an association between a female athlete’s menstrual cycle, and the athlete’s injury. This association was found with an increased injury rate during the female’s ovulatory phase of the menstruation process. All three of the factors stated above seemed to increase the risk for female ACL injury. These findings can help direct prevention strategies for female athletes, so that they can decrease their risk for noncontact ACL injuries.
Kelsey Boss ’15
Sponsor: Kristin Meyer