Nav: Home

Why are women more prone to knee injuries than men?

March 18, 2016

Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have found that women who take the birth control pill, which lessen and stabilize estrogen levels, were less likely to suffer serious knee injuries. The findings are currently available in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Female athletes are 1.5 to 2 times more likely than their male counterparts to injure their anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL. The ACL is a ligament that connects the top and bottom portions of the knee. Damage to this ligament is a serious athletic injury that can be career altering. Return-to-play rates after ACL injury are as low as 49 percent among soccer players. Also, this injury may lead to lifelong issues with knee instability, altered walking gait and early onset arthritis.

Using a national insurance claims and prescription database of 23,428 young women between 15 and 19, the study found that women with an ACL knee injury who were taking the birth control pill were less likely to need corrective surgery than women of the same age with ACL injuries who do not use the birth control pill.

Researchers have proposed that the female hormone estrogen makes women more vulnerable to ACL injury by weakening this ligament. A previous investigation found that more ACL injuries in women occur during the points of their menstrual cycle when estrogen levels are high.

"Birth control pills help maintain lower and more consistent levels of estrogen, which may prevent periodic ACL weakness," said lead author and M.D. - Ph.D. student Aaron Gray. "With this in mind, we examined whether oral contraceptive use protected against ACL injuries that require surgery in women."

Women between15-19 y in need of ACL reconstructive surgery, the age group with the highest rates of ACL injuries by a wide margin, were 22 percent less likely to be using the birth control pill than non-injured women of the same age.

Gray said that puberty might explain the high number of ACL injury cases in young women of this age. During puberty, there is a sharp rise in estrogen levels as well as growth spurts in the legs. Following one of these growth spurts, it takes time for the adolescent to develop good coordination with their newly elongated limbs.

"Young athletes currently use birth control pills for various reasons including more predictable cycles and lighter periods," Gray said. "Injury risk reduction could potentially be added to that list with further, prospective investigations."
-end-
Other authors include UTMB's Zbgniew Gugala and Jacques Baillargeon.

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Related Estrogen Articles:

How estrogen modulates fear learning
Low estrogen levels may make women more susceptible to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), while high estrogen levels may be protective.
Estrogen signaling impacted immune response in cancer
New research from The Wistar Institute showed that estrogen signaling was responsible for immunosuppressive effects in the tumor microenvironment across cancer types.
Are drops in estrogen levels more rapid in women with migraine?
Researchers have long known that sex hormones such as estrogen play a role in migraine.
Estrogen-deficient female athletes' memory improves with estrogen
In young female athletes who stop having their menstrual periods because of excessive exercise, estrogen replacement appears to improve their memory, a new study finds.
Blood clot risk lower for estrogen-only, transdermal, and vaginal estrogen at menopause
A Swedish population study is helping answer lingering questions about hormone therapy safety.
U of G researchers study tie between estrogen, memory
A new study by University of Guelph researchers that narrows down where and how estrogens affect the brain may help in understanding how the hormones affect cognition and memory in women.
New sensor sends electronic signal when estrogen is detected
Researchers in New Zealand have developed a new sensor that can detect low levels of E2, one of the primary estrogen hormones, in liquids.
Estrogen drug may not benefit women with Alzheimer's dementia
An estrogen-like drug, raloxifene, has no demonstrated benefit on memory and thinking skills for women with dementia due to Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the Nov.
Panel recommends improvements in estrogen testing accuracy
Unreliable estrogen measurements have had a negative impact on the treatment of and research into many hormone-related cancers and chronic conditions.
Interaction of estrogen receptor and coactivators seen for first time
In a recent study with Dr. Wah Chiu, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Baylor, O'Malley for the first time visualized the 900 kiloDalton molecular machine made up of the receptor, its coactivator SRC-3, another coactivator called p300, and the DNA that it controls, through the use of an electron cryo-microscope and advanced computational analysis.

Related Estrogen Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Don't Fear Math
Why do many of us hate, even fear math? Why are we convinced we're bad at it? This hour, TED speakers explore the myths we tell ourselves and how changing our approach can unlock the beauty of math. Guests include budgeting specialist Phylecia Jones, mathematician and educator Dan Finkel, math teacher Eddie Woo, educator Masha Gershman, and radio personality and eternal math nerd Adam Spencer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#517 Life in Plastic, Not Fantastic
Our modern lives run on plastic. It's in the computers and phones we use. It's in our clothing, it wraps our food. It surrounds us every day, and when we throw it out, it's devastating for the environment. This week we air a live show we recorded at the 2019 Advancement of Science meeting in Washington, D.C., where Bethany Brookshire sat down with three plastics researchers - Christina Simkanin, Chelsea Rochman, and Jennifer Provencher - and a live audience to discuss plastics in our oceans. Where they are, where they are going, and what they carry with them. Related links:...