Why Are Women More Prone To Knee Injuries Than Men

Anatomy, Hormones and Technique

So why do we find women more prone to knee injuries than men? Biology is partly to blame as women have relatively wider hips which can put more stress on their knee joints. Female hormones seem to weaken ligaments too (with age).

A woman can’t do too much about her anatomy and hormones, but other factors are within her control. A good exercise program can really help movement, stabilising and loading, landing techniques. Learning to land properly for example can reduce to the force from landing by 25%. So sports and activity that involves jumping, pivoting, or landing need to be taught to soften knees, absorb the forces, building stronger legs will primarily aid this.

In most untrained men and women they tend to have over compensating quadricep muscle (front of thigh) compared to their hamstrings (opposite side), which can put pressure onto the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and even the patella tendon.

Most recent niggles and knee pain we’ve had from female clients tended to reduce or disappear with some strength training and stretching / loading exercises. These clients tended to cycle or run often so the quadriceps and hip flexors got overworked and hamstrings and glutes became weak and unstable. Even for men and women excessive running led to poor ankle mobility which effects how they land and absorb the shock and force from the ground.

Stress on the patella tendon or deeper in onto the ACL will led to severe knee pain and injuries.

Stress on the patella tendon or deeper in onto the ACL will led to severe knee pain and injuries.

Prevention Through Training

The best way to protect your knees (for both men and women) is to strengthen your hips and legs through strength training and stretching exercises. Knees hurt when hips aren’t stable and ankles don’t move .. so a good program working on hip stability, loading both quadriceps and hamstrings with some resistance, stretching and strengthening the calf / soleus muscles and some balance exercises building up to some plyometric work (explosive jumping / landing). We then always recommend a good sport therapist to help get into those muscles and joints and reduce some ware and tear .. take some pressure off those tendons and prepare the body for the next step.

Just remember our bodies are constantly breaking down and trying to rebuild .. when we age a year thats more degeneration to the body so we need to train smarter to help build it back up. Endurance athletes shouldn’t be scared of building muscles, the amount of miles they do counteracts the hypertrophy effect and believe me you aren’t eating 2 x bodyweight in protein and calories ..

So use your training week wisely and introduce some strength training over autumn / winter. We’ve recently taken on and handful of clients that need some strength training and have suffered with hips of knees and the results so far are amazing. It’s a small sacrifice to keep your body in better shape, avoid those injuries and even surgeries .. no one wants a replacement knee or hip before the age of 40 or even 50 years old .. train smarter and feel stronger.

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For a specific one on one session and a program please get in touch with us on 01751 475363 or email pete@peternelsonfitness.co.uk