Friday, July 13, 2012

ACL Injuries and Muscle Strength in Girls at Puberty

There are many theories and a vast medical and scientific literature exploring why girls who play sports experience more ACL injuries than boys.  A recently published review in the journal Sports Medicine authored by researchers from the University of Wollongong in Australia focused on changes in the relative strength of hamstring and quadriceps muscle at the time of puberty.  The evidence suggests that in girls during puberty the growth in size and strength of the hamstring muscle group seems to lag behind that of the quadriceps muscle group. This lag is not present in boys.
These observations have been made from retrospective studies (looking backwards at injuries) and scientists put the highest value on prospective studies (which look forward) in order to avoid bias.  However, the evidence seems strong enough to suggest that training which develops a greater balance between the hamstrings and quadriceps might be useful as a component of programs to help avoid ACL injuries in girls at puberty.
Read more about this review here.