When you consider the differences in physical demands between sports, it may be surprising to find that young females have a substantially higher risk of sports-related injuries, especially Knee Injuries (ACL tears) and Concussions.

Injuries are possible anytime sports or play is involved – and that’s not just organized sports. The most common types of sports-related injuries among children are orthopedic and musculoskeletal such as sprains, muscle strains, bone or growth plate injuries, and repetitive motion injuries. Overuse injuries to tendons, bones, and joints can result from playing the same sport and performing the same movements too often, too hard or at too young an age with inadequate recovery time. While the risk for injury is probable, it also shouldn’t stand as a deterrent to allowing young kids to play.

Why Do Girls Endure More Knee Injuries Than Boys?

Some theories suggest that hormonal fluctuations in girls might affect tendons in females differently than males. Girls have higher estrogen levels, which contributes to less muscle mass and their skeletal makeup with a wider pelvis, which alters the alignment of the knee and ankle, causes females to cut with one foot instead of two. Females also have a greater likelihood of Vitamin D and Calcium deficiencies.

These differences suggest that beyond individual athletic training, active females should pay closer attention to joint strength and mobility. Girls in any athletic training or sport should take precautions and focus on strengthening the muscles that stabilize the knee.

Girls are up to eight times more likely to have an ACL injury than boys


Higher Concussion Counts in Females

According to Safe Kids Worldwide research, girls receive more concussions in team sports common to both boys and girls. In fact, High school girls in the United States are 56 percent more likely than boys to suffer a concussion in sports that are played by both genders.

This could be due to girls having weaker neck muscles or as a direct result of the way they engage in the activities they play.

From the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Position Statement: Concussion in Sport 2012

  • Recent data suggest that in sports with similar rules female athletes sustain more concussions than their male counterparts.
  • In addition, female athletes experience or report a higher number and severity of symptoms as well as a longer duration of recovery than male athletes in several studies.

Recent research shows that concussion symptoms in girls may last up to twice as long. That means that parents and coaches along with pediatricians should be extra observant for signs of concussions in girls well after three weeks after a head injury.

Potential for Injury with Returning to Play

While parents enjoy the experience of watching their child tear it up on the field, court, or pitchers mound, there is also a real fear in the back of their mind that their child might suffer a sports injury as the result of a slide tackle, errant ball, or hard cut. Injuries are possible anytime sports or play is involved – and that’s not just organized sports. And we know that a second concussion later can cause even more issues so it’s important to be cleared by your physician before returning to play.

While orthopedic injuries more commonly occur during practices rather than during games, concussion rates were more than three times as common in competitions as during practice.

Also, we want to remind parents that if a child has spent a significant time lounging on the couch or otherwise generally inactive this summer, rushing full force into a sport can cause serious issues. Return to play safely by engaging in sports and activities progressively in order to avoid injuries.

OrthoExpress Urgent Care offers a variety of specialized injury care related to orthopedic conditions and treatments Our specialized orthopedic team has the expertise that ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses. Because our team of highly-trained orthopedic providers specializes in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition and refer you for ancillary services, such as physical therapy, diagnostic imaging, surgical consultations for total joint replacements and much more. If you find yourself of your child in need of urgent orthopedic care in Shelby County or surrounding communities, contact OrthoExpress at 205-677-0001.