July 10, 2012

Men Suffer ACL Injury More Than Women

Connie K. Ho for - Your Universe Online

Men and women are different in their own ways. The dress, the style, the demeanor, there are a number of factors. The differences have even trickled down to the number of bodily injuries. In particular, researchers recently revealed that men have a greater number of knee ligament injuries than women, according to a Swedish study.

The research differs from past studies that have proposed that women have a greater chance of having anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears and surgeries due to those injuries. The ACL is a particularly important ligament in the knee and is a common injury in sports like basketball, skinning, and soccer. All three sports combine pivoting movements and fast turns. According to Reuters Health, about 80,000 cruciate ligament injuries happen in the United States annually and many of these injuries are repaired with surgical operations. The findings, published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, included data on injuries from the whole Swedish population.

"I think the difference is that earlier studies studied at-risk populations," Richard Nordenvall, a member of the Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden, told Reuters Health. "In those studies, women are more prone to get injured. The difference with this study is that we studied the general population."

The team of scientists utilized a nationwide database of patients. They were able to determine the number of Swedes who had knee ligament injuries and the number of patients who participated in surgical repairs from 2002 to 2009. During the study period, a total of 56,659 people in Sweden experienced a torn knee ligament. The researchers believe that, based on the information collected, there was an average of 78 tears for every 100,000 Swede.

Of the people who had tears, 34,000 were males (60%). Males tended to have 50 percent of the reconstructive surgical operations that were related to knee ligament injuries. On the other hand, Swedish women tended to have ACL injuries when they were younger; many were between the ages of 11 and 20 when they experienced the injury. Men tended to experience ACL injuries between the ages of 21 to 30 and had the highest injury rates among all the age groups. In particular, the researchers found that there were about 144 tears for every 100,000 women between the ages of 11 and 20, while there were 225 tears for every 100,000 men between the ages of 21 and 30. The findings correlated with information from recent surgical registers.

Some of the reviewers of the data weren´t surprised by the group´s findings and a few propose that males possibly have more injuries due to the development of the body and patterns of movement.

"It's a common injury and it's more common than what has been thought of earlier," Nordenvall said.

Overall, the project shows that it´s important for both men and women to participate in injury prevention programs. Injury prevention programs can include education and information on stretching before any physical activity. According to past research studies, exercises like stretching can help prevent injuries.