Statistics on the gender gap in sports injuries show that the injury rate of female athletes compared to male athletes is generally close when common sports disciplines are taken into account. However, especially with knee injuries, anterior cruciate ligament injuries are more common in women, while injuries in different regions such as shoulders and hips are more common in men. Orthopedics and traumatology specialist Prof. Bombacı said: “Sports injuries are an important issue that affects everyone of all ages, regardless of gender. To ensure the continuity of sports life, it is necessary to be aware and careful, both in the prevention of injuries and in the treatment and afterwards.
THE MAIN FACTORS ANATOMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES
Emphasizing the differences between male and female sports injuries, Prof. Dr. Hasan Bombacı stated that female athletes are at higher risk of knee and ankle ligament injuries, especially in the musculoskeletal system of the lower extremities, and continued as follows:
“This result is due to some sex-specific anatomical and biological differences between males and females. During the monthly menstruation of women, depending on the concentration of hormones in the body, there may be loosening of the ligaments, softening and a decrease in the resistance of the tendons. Therefore, women are more prone to injury, especially during some periods of the menstrual cycle.”
“THE BIGGEST CONNECTIONS TO INJURIES ARE IN THE KNEES”
“Although all ligaments are generally affected by the hormonal change in women, the ligament most prone to injury is the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee,” Prof. Dr. Hasan Bombacı said:
“Especially in competitive sports, when performing actions such as sudden stops and turns, in the situation required by infighting, the joints and muscles are put under much more stress. If the ligaments loosen differently than normal, this reduces the joint-holding effect of the ligaments. Against this abnormal load that comes naturally, the risk of damage to the joints and ligaments increases.
ANATOMICAL DIFFERENCES ALSO INCREASE RISK IN WOMEN
According to Prof. Dr. Hasan Bombacı explained the following on the subject:
“Women’s legs, for example, are slightly more turned outwards than men’s legs. This situation, which is related to female biology, is defined as “valgus angulation”. The valgus angle in the knee makes the knee more likely to become unbalanced under abnormal stresses, especially during sudden bends and sudden stops. And this increases the likelihood of damage to the load in that area. For example, when an athlete running in handball approaches the target, he or she applies a greater than normal rotational force to the knee as he jumps up and lands on his leg to shoot. If the athlete has not developed the reflexes to create the necessary activity for these situations, the likelihood of a ligament injury is high. Apart from this, it is claimed that the anterior cruciate ligament is thinner in women than in men due to their anatomy, which is responsible for this situation.
AMATEUR ATHLETES ALSO SHOULD BE CAREFUL
Stating that injuries are not only a major problem among professional athletes, but also among amateur athletes, Prof. Bombacı stressed the importance of taking precautions and being aware while exercising. However, he stated that amateur athletes are usually not involved in competitive sports and therefore the risk of injury is lower.
HIGH RISK OF PRESCRIPTION IF SUFFICIENT MEASURES ARE NOT TAKEN
prof. Dr. Bomber emphasized that the necessary precautions should only be taken during and after treatment. Prof. Bomber continued:
“Treatment can only return a person to the state they were in before the accident happened. For example, as a result of the most common anterior cruciate ligament injury, 70-80 percent of athletes are able to return to sports and their previous level of performance. However, re-injury is inevitable if an exercise program is not followed to neutralize this disadvantage. In addition, the risk in this case increases even more with the weakness created by the previous injury.
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE TO PROTECT?
Prof. Dr. Hasan Bombacı stated that this gap can be largely closed with proper training techniques and, more importantly, special “proprioception exercises”, saying:
“Special exercise programs are very effective in reducing the risk, but it is also important to know the techniques related to sports. According to the Athlete’s Injury Mechanism Analysis, there are scientific data showing that exercise-based rehabilitation, as well as training in many aspects such as endurance, agility, balance and strengthening, reduces these injuries by 27-45 percent. Potential sports injury risks related to the anatomy and biology of female athletes can be significantly reduced through exercise programs that increase their neuromotor skills. As a result, it has been scientifically proven that the risk of injury in some body parts of female athletes is greater than that of male athletes. However, it is very important to take appropriate precautions during exercise and work with preparatory training techniques specific to the sport. In this way, it may be possible to prevent sports injuries and better manage the treatment process.”