Male vs Female: Who Sustains More Knee Injuries During Soccer?

soccer injury

Anyone playing soccer, whether in a friendly way or at the competitive level, is likely to have experienced some form of a knee injury. Otherwise, they know someone or has seen someone who sustained minor to lifetime injuries.

Things That Cause Knee Injuries

Playing soccer puts a lot of pressure on the legs, particularly the knees, as players are always running, kicking, and falling. The knee injuries that occur most in soccer are sprains, ligament strains, and muscle tears. Research shows that the main muscle strains are the meniscus and ACL, the anterior cruciate ligament. The increased physical, emotional stress, and financial cost stemming from knee injuries have led many studies at the personal and government level to look at causes and come up with preventative measures.

Are Men or Women Hurt More During Soccer

Over the years, there have been reports that ACL injuries affected women more than men, and a study was undertaken by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is an arm of the US Department of Health, has attested to those claims. The study shows that females face a four times higher risk of knee injuries while playing soccer than their male counterparts.

What Do The Studies Show

In the study, analysts reviewed 55 videos, thirty-two of which were males and twenty-three females, with ACL injuries. Most injuries affected professional soccer players and collegiate players. For the professional players, ACL injuries were five times higher in men, while at the collegiate level, it was two times higher. The balance of the injuries occurred at the high school and youth soccer level.

Many sports require constant running, so what is so different about soccer that thousands of players get knee pain and have to be referred to physiotherapy? Medical experts say the rapid turns, sudden stops, quick direction changes, acceleration or deceleration, and bad landings are the things that cause people to get knee injuries while playing soccer. The environment when playing soccer, such as inferior surface, bad weather, and the type of equipment used, are also causes for knee pain. The situation is amplified when the playing surface is artificial, as it puts an even more tremendous strain on the players’ ankles and knees.

A significant observance made by the government researchers, however, is that defensive players sustain the most injuries. The Analysts took a systematic approach to the knee injury study, wherein the analysts watched multiple videos of people playing soccer from the youth to professional categories. They analyzed whether the players were defending or playing offensively and what part of the body they were using to control the ball. The observers also factored in whether the players had control of the ball and the section of the soccer field they were playing from when the injury occurred.

Main Reason For Knee Injury During Soccer

The results: knee pain occurred specifically during tackling, and females had a higher risk of injury to their ACLs at that time. More injures occurred during contact. “Soccer ACL injuries usually occur when the lower extremity is in a position of risk for both contact and no contact injuries. For no contact ACL tears, female soccer players are more likely to injure their left knee compared with males,” according to the NIH study.

Their findings revealed that 51% of ACL injuries happened when the player was tackling, and female occurrences were twice as many as the males. More profound observance showed that tackling was often done impulsively, putting the player at a greater risk of injury. The sudden change in body movements to get the ball from the other player puts extreme pressure on the lower sections of the defensive player’s body, especially the knee. For female players with low neuromuscular control, they may be more likely to react during tackling in a method that places the ACL at risk for damage.

How Badly Can A Player Be Affected?

Physiotherapists in Singapore, where soccer is very popular, are trained to deal with the intricacies of knee injuries. They are used to soccer players since people who get knee injuries while playing soccer are quite common in that country and the world as a whole. Meanwhile, according to The American Journal of Sports, ACL injuries most often require surgery so doctors can repair the knee properly. Knee surgery usually takes several months to heal and require rehabilitation. The main problem is that the injury can lead to a greater risk of degenerative arthritis and even sequela if the injuries are recurrent.

What Is ACL Important?

Therefore, the greater the injury and the frequency of injuries, the more likely it is that a player will be out of the game for as long as six months and sometimes longer. Players have had to give up soccer altogether. Sitting on the bench and watching teammates play while nursing an injury can affect a player’s mind and body even further. The ACL begins on the bone called the femur and enters the tibia, intending to prevent both bones from slipping away from each other and controlling how much the tibia spins. The ACL, therefore, plays a vital role in bringing stability to the knee. Slight or full tear injuries can happen when players come into contact with each other or fall awkwardly, causing the knee to buckle.

How To Prevent Knee Injuries

Over the years, sports entities and medicinal experts have still not come up with a way to prevent knee injuries while playing soccer. However, one way to stave off the ACL injury is through constant physical training and practicing the right methods of jumping and landing. Consecutive games place a lot of pressure on the players’ knees, especially the professionals, which is why physiotherapists in Singapore recommend that the players stay fit and keep their muscles healthy. The pros have become more aware of their limitations over the years, which is why rookie players stand a greater risk of injury.

Overall, proper rest, training, and learning the right techniques through physiotherapy can help prevent knee injuries.