Why Women Wrestlers Suffer More ACL Injuries Than Men

Hamish Woodward

After a spate of terrible knee injuries in wrestling, we look at why female wrestlers struggle with ACL injuries more than male wrestlers.

In all sports in recent years, this issue has cropped up. Women in sports are suffering with Anterior Cruciate Ligament injuries, which is one of the worst knee injuries an atlete can suffer.

This phenomena have not been investigated in wrestling, despite the increasing number of female wrestlers suffering with ACL tears in recent years.

Big stars in both AEW and WWE have torn their Anterior Cruciate Ligament in, keeping them out of the ring for a number of months.

In just the last few years, a number of women have suffered from horrible knee injures. These include:

While this has not been studied in wrestling (and the reasons behind women getting more ACL injuries is currently unknown), this sort of thing has started being studied in women’s football.

Speaking to Inside the WSL earlier this season, female health specialist Dr Emma Ross explained: “We know female athletes are up to six times more likely to have a non-contact ACL injury than their male counterparts.

“We published a paper about a year ago which showed that, in sport and exercise science research, only about six per cent of the studies are done exclusively on females – meaning they study things that are happening to the female body – so we don’t have a lot of research on female athletes.

“But what we do know about the menstrual cycle and injury is that the changing hormones across the cycle can impact the physiology and biomechanics of the body.

“For example, when oestrogen is elevated in the menstrual cycle, and that happens in about the second week, it can affect the stability of joints. It can interfere with the collagen in our joints and it can create looser, more lax joints. A loose joint is therefore less stable and more inclined to injury.

“So we do have some information about loose joints, but what we don’t have is the end step of whether that really does increase the risk for injury in female athletes.”

Dr Katrine Okholm Kryger did point out that another difference between men and women include the size and shape of their feet – which can affect how well their wrestling boots fit, with ill-fitting boots causing more injuries.

This investigation could help in stopping these needless injuries to the top female wrestlers.

The issue could be something as simple as the boots used to wrestle,, as Dr Kryger said.

With the wrestling boots made mainly for men, they may not be the correct size and dimensions for women’s feet and legs.

More innovation in this area could help stop ACL injures with female wrestlers, who are more susceptible to this particular injury than their male colleagues.

This paper by J. Orthop also investigate the reason, indicating that they could both be hormonal, as well as physiological. You can read more about it by clicking this link.

What do you think about women wrestlers getting ACL injuries en masse? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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