A comparison of factors influencing ACL injury in male and female athletes versus male and female non-athletes
Female athletes are at a higher risk to sustain an ACL injury compared to their male counterparts. The primary mechanism of injury is through non-contact movements, however the cause remains unclear. Several authors have identified knee joint laxity and muscular strength as a possible risk factor influencing ACL injury. The purpose of this study was to compare knee joint laxity and muscular strength between male and female athletes and male and female non-athletes to determine if any differences or correlations existed among these variables. Fifty-four (27 male, 27 female) apparently healthy athletes from the University of Texas at El Paso and fifty-three (25 male, 28 female) non-athletes from the general student body volunteered to participate. The KT-1000 knee arthrometer was used to quantify knee joint laxity during five tests: 3 passive drawer tests (66N, 89N, 133N); 1 active drawer test; and 1 Lachman, a maximum manual test. The Biodex Medical Systems was used to measure for muscular strength during five maximal repetitions at 60°/sec. Non-athletes had significantly greater laxity compared to athletes at 89N, 133N, and the active displacement test. No significant differences were found between males and females in laxity. Males produced significantly greater peak torque of the quadriceps and hamstrings compared to females, and athletes had significantly greater peak torque of the quadriceps and hamstring muscles as well as a greater H:Q ratio compared to non-athletes. Passive displacement at 66N was negatively correlated with the H:Q ratio while the Lachman was negatively correlated with quadriceps and hamstring peak torque. These findings suggest that laxity may be related more to athletic participation than gender therefore, knee joint laxity may not explain the higher incidence of ACL injury in females. The H:Q ratio of athletes is lower than normal, and training should be focused on increasing hamstring strength.
Bowerman, Stephanie, "A comparison of factors influencing ACL injury in male and female athletes versus male and female non-athletes" (2005). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1430975.