Dr. Armin Tehrany discusses the scary reasons for ACL tears in women on Shape.com

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In a recent article titled “The scary reasons women are more likely to tear their ACLs”, Shape.com, a leading lifestyle magazine for women, asked Dr. Armin Tehrany to provide expert insight on ACL tears in women.

acl tears in women

The ACL is the ligament that runs diagonally in the middle of the knee. It is one of the most important ligaments in the knee joint as it prevents the tibia from sliding out in front of the femur, and it provides rotational stability to the knee. But according to a 2010 study published in the North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, women who participate in jumping and pivoting sports are four to six times more prone to ACL tears than men.

As one of the best knee specialists in New York, Dr. Tehrany was asked to explain why the risk of ACL tears in women is higher than the risk in men.

According to Dr. Tehrany, one of the main reasons for the higher risk of ACL tears in women is the anatomy of the female body. The ACL is the ligament that runs diagonally in the middle of the knee. It plays a significant role in the knee health as it prevents the tibia from sliding out in front of the femur, and it provides rotational stability to the knee.

The wider pelvic in female’s body causes a greater angle between the femur (the thighbone) and the tibia (the shin bone), which ultimately leads to a higher risk of occurrence of an ACL Injury.

A woman has a wider pelvis, so the knee is no longer aligned straight. It’s more at an angle, which means the ACL is at more risk of a twisting injury,” says Dr. Tehrany.

The second reason for increased possibility of an ACL tear in women is the menstrual cycle. In his statement, Dr. Tehrany noted that women’s ligaments and joints are affected by the hormonal changes that women experience during the menstrual cycle.

“Women usually have looser joints and ligaments than men to begin with, and then the menstrual cycle can make them get even looser, which means that during pivoting sports or shifting of the knee, the ACL is under more risk of tearing,” adds Dr. Tehrany.

Further, in the interview, Dr. Tehrany discusses the quad-hamstring balance as a risk factor for an ACL tear in women. The better the balance in the quad-hamstring, the lower the risk of an ACL tear.

Fortunately, unlike the first reasons few Dr. Tehrany mentioned, this one can be easily controlled.

“Women should seek out a professional—either a physical therapist or personal trainer—for advice on whether or not they have stability between the quad muscles in the front of the knee, versus the hamstring muscles on the back of the knee,” he says.

To improve the balance and knee stability, women should take advantage of the exercises and workout programs that strengthen the muscles around the knee. “Strengthening these two large muscle groups, in general, will help stabilize the knee,” says Dr. Tehrany.

Even though some sports related injuries, including the ACL tears, can’t be avoided, there are ways to increase the prevention. As Dr. Tehrany concludes, “The easiest way to treat an ACL injury is to prevent one.”

To read the complete article and Dr. Tehrany’s interview, visit Shape.com.