Is it true that women athletes are more susceptible to injury? In an ideal world, all forms of sport would be pain free. How nice would it be if you left every training session with no soreness or aches and pains?
But unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. The truth is, women athletes are slightly more susceptible to injuries than our male counterparts. Why? Well it all comes down to physiology and our genetic makeup.
In this article, we’ll explore this fact a bit more closely. Let’s get to it!
Why are women athletes more likely to suffer from injuries?
As we just mentioned this susceptibility comes down to genetics. Women are more likely to suffer from conditions such as runner’s knee, stress fractures, shin splints and other conditions like plantar fasciitis.
According to researchers, women have a higher risk of injuries to their lower extremities because they typically have a wider pelvis than out male counterparts. It seems that our baby-making hips tend to put more stress on our knees.
On top of that, women athletes tend to have more lax ligaments and smaller muscles supporting their knees, putting us more at risk of knee injuries.
But what about our bones? Well there’s not much good news there either. Women athletes (as well as women in general), have smaller bone dimensions and are genetically predisposed to have lower bone density. What this means is that women athletes have an increased risk of broken bones, particularly when playing high-impact sports.
Women athletes are also more susceptible to hip and pelvis injuries due to our larger hip width to femoral length ratio, which leads to greater hip adduction. These muscles are located towards the lateral portion of the thigh.
How to reduce your risk of injury as a woman athlete
So with all that bad news, what can women athletes do to reduce their risk of injury while playing the sports they love?
One tip is to make sure you’re getting adequate nutrition so that you can maintain healthy bones and reduce your risk of stress fractures. Many women athletes fall into the trap of under-fueling, so make sure you’re getting adequate calories every day.
Other tips include;
- Improving motion and flexibility in your hips and glutes
- Building your bone density through cardio exercises and adequate nutrition
- Strengthening and balance exercises
- Wear the proper footwear for your physical activity
- Wear appropriate protective gear when participating in high-impact sports (we can help you with that!)
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