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The two most important things to teach your daughter to help avoid injury.

Knee injuries, specifically Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears have become an epidemic for the young female athlete. Statistics from the NCAA have shown a significant likelihood of injury in the female athlete over their male counterparts. The reasons for this are thought to be a combination of anatomy, and training.

Anatomically, the female knee has two elements which make it susceptible to injury. First, the bony anatomy might cause a shearing effect on the tendon resulting in injury and tear. Second, the angle of the way the femur aligns with the tibia, due to a wider pelvis, theoretically creates more torque, also resulting in injury and tear.

From a training perspective, two aspects can be discussed. First is strength; the muscles surrounding the knee are protective of the joint. In the past, however, strength training was not as prevalent in the female athlete. Second is balance and agility training, similarly less seen by the female athlete than her male counterpart.

Thus, although these anatomic elements can predispose to injury, and are unchangeable, there are counter measures to help. Strength training and balance/agility training are two critical aspects to help prevent knee injury. Additionally, this awareness by health professionals, trainers, and coaches has lead to more substantial training programs in the young female athletic population.