Female-Specific Athletic Injuries

Tomorrow is Women’s Equality Day just in time to recognize two female students who graduated Army Ranger School last week. Women in the military can experience twice as many training injuries as men, and are often at a greater risk for more serious injuries leading to lost duty days.

Muscle size and bone mass may account for the greater rates of injury in female service members. Women frequently lengthen their stride during marches to keep up with the taller male service members. This puts added stress on their joints and limbs. Women in the military often suffer injuries to the lower limb, such as stress fractures, ACL injuries, and other knee or tendonitis problems.

Risk factors for both men and women include age, previous injuries, adverse health behaviors (like smoking), and current and previous levels of physical fitness. Greater bone width and muscle mass often allow men to absorb shock better than women with regard to stress fractures. Hormonal influences, bone mineral density, menstrual irregularities, and calcium intake may also play a role. ACL injuries are 8 times more common in female athletes perhaps due to anatomical differences, increased joint laxity and flexibility, hormonal influences, muscle imbalance, neuromuscular control, knee stiffness, landing characteristics, and posture control.

Prevention strategies include eating a proper diet, paying attention to your body’s signals, varying physical activities, warming up properly, stretching, strengthening, and learning proper technique. Females may have more ground to cover to prevent military injuries, but the two women who are newly appointed Army Rangers have proven that it is very possible to outlast the demands placed on their bodies alongside their male counterparts.

See the attached article for more details on specific female training injuries which address prevention and injury differences between men and women.
Additional Information

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