Knee injuries in female athletes

Sports Med. 1995 Apr;19(4):288-302. doi: 10.2165/00007256-199519040-00006.


Female athletes are at increased risk for certain sports-related injuries, particularly those involving the knee. Factors that contribute to this increased risk are the differences in sports undertaken and in gender anatomy and structure. Gender differences include baseline level of conditioning, lower extremity alignment, physiological laxity, pelvis width, tibial rotation and foot alignment. Sports like gymnastics and cheerleading create a noncontact environment, but can result in significant knee injuries. In quick stopping and cutting sports, females have an increased incidence of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury by noncontact mechanisms. Patellofemoral (PF) disorders are also very common in female athletes. Awareness of these facts helps the sports medicine professional make an accurate diagnosis and institute earlier treatment-focused rehabilitation with or without surgery. Further prospective and retrospective research is needed in areas of epidemiology, mechanisms, severity and types of knee injuries. The goal is to lessen the severity of certain knee injuries and to prevent others.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries* / physiopathology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / physiopathology
  • Knee Injuries* / physiopathology
  • Leg / physiopathology
  • Ligaments, Articular / injuries