Health-related concerns of the female athlete: a lifespan approach

Am Fam Physician. 2009 Mar 15;79(6):489-95.


Exercise is beneficial for women of all ages and is associated with long-term health benefits and enhanced well-being. Nevertheless, active women and girls are at risk for conditions resulting from sports and exercise participation. Because of their unique physiology, children are more susceptible to heat illness than adolescents and younger adults. Childhood sports injuries tend to involve the growth plate. Adolescents share some concerns with child athletes but have injuries more similar to those that occur in adults, especially ligament and tendon injuries. Adolescents and adult women are at risk for anterior cruciate ligament injuries, patellofemoral pain syndrome, and stress fractures. For athletes in these age groups, physicians should screen for pelvic floor dysfunction and the female athlete triad, especially in patients with a history of stress fractures. In adult women, exercise can contribute to disease prevention and management. Continuation of an appropriate exercise routine helps older women maintain independence and prevent falls.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Women's Health*