Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Articular Cartilage Injury after ACL Rupture is more Common in Men than Women

While ACL rupture is itself a significant and common athletic injury in women, it can be compounded by injury to the articular cartilage which has been shown to increase the risk of subsequent arthritis.

In a recent study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine a group of researchers from the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Akershus University Hospital in Norway used a remarkable registry containing details of 15783 primary unilateral anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions (42% on women) performed in Sweden and Norway between 2005-2008.  This represents 97% and 90% of all primary ACL reconstructions performed in Norway and Sweden respectively.

The results showed that men were about 20% more likely to experience injury to articular cartilage than women.  In addition, increased time from injury to surgery and a history of prior knee surgery were also risk factors.

So this is one relatively bright spot is the otherwise high burden of knee injury that women athletes experience.

Read the abstract of the study here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Vitamin D is important for fracture prevention in post-menopausal women

Many studies have demonstrated that Vitamin D plays a key role in bone health in women. But what about women who already have osteoporosis? Recently, a group of researchers at Shinshu University in Japan studied the
circulating form of vitamin D in the blood of 330 postmenopausal osteoporotic women who had no parathyroid disease (which itself elevates the risk of fracture). Their research, published in the  Journal of Orthopaedic Sciences, found that vitamin D insufficiency (less than 20 ng/mL) was associated with a number of markers of poor bone health and also with a history of vertebral fractures.

These results are further evidence of the importance for bone health of maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D during menopause in addition to other factors such as calcium supplementation, hormone replacement, and the use of anti-resorptive drugs.  A comprehensive guide to bone health and other issues for post-menopausal women can be found in the recommendations of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada here.

Read the abstract of the research paper here.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Head Impacts in Women Collegiate Ice Hockey Players

Historically, women hockey players have experienced higher rates of concussion than men.  A recent study from the Bioengineering Laboratory at Brown University  published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise used hockey helmets instrumented with shock sensing devices (accelerometers) to compare the severity of impacts that men and women collegiate players were subjected to during actual games. The results showed that although women hockey players received approximately the same number of hits as men, the severity of the impacts were significantly lower in women.  This was true for both linear and rotational accelerations. Because of the previous findings of higher concussion rates in women hockey players, these results suggest that the threshold for brain injury may be lower in women compared to men. 
Read the abstract of the study here