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4 Problems Female Athletes Face (and How We Can Help)

The type of sports women play, and the construction of the average female body, can affect how female athletes suffer injuries. Male athletes play more contact sports than women do, and suffer more injuries and concussions from collisions with other players, but female athletes are more likely to have more injuries overall.

At The Institute for Arthroscopy & Sports Medicine in San Francisco, California, Dr. Jeffrey Halbrecht can help you assess your risk for sports injuries, work with you to prevent common problems that face female athletes, and treat any injuries to keep you in top shape.

Common problems female athletes have with sports injuries

Common problems female athletes face include specific vulnerability to certain types of repetitive use injuries. Dr. Halbrecht can help treat these injuries and recommend training regimens that strengthen the female body to help prevent future injury. 

1. Ankle sprains

Female athletes have a higher incidence of lower extremity injuries than male athletes. Ankle sprains are extremely common in female athletes, especially for sports players in their teens and early twenties. Recurring ankle sprains can lead to long-term damage and pain. Dr. Halbrecht can perform arthroscopic surgery to repair damage, and help lay out an exercise program to strengthen the muscles in your legs and feet to prevent future sprains. 

2. Stress fractures

Bone stress injuries in the legs are also much more common in female athletes than in male athletes. If you have small calves and a muscular upper body, your legs can bear a lot of weight and stress during sports. This can cause tiny fractures in the bones of your legs and feet, leading to long-term pain and leg weakness. Dr. Halbrecht can help you maintain bone mass in your legs and prevent bone loss — such loss increases your likelihood of stress fractures. 

3. ACL tears

You hear about famous male athletes suffering from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears all the time, but women have three to nine times as much risk of having an ACL tear. Women’s knee joints have more range of motion, which makes them more flexible, but also more prone to injury. Dr. Halbrecht can repair ACL injuries and other knee injuries, often using arthroscopic techniques, to get you back on the field as soon as possible. 

4. Shoulder instability

Female athletes are extremely likely to suffer shoulder dislocations that cause soft tissue damage. Repeated dislocations or “subluxations” cause shoulder instability. Dr. Halbrecht can repair ligament damage arthroscopically, and order a brace to immobilize the shoulder while you heal. Then you can begin a slow-but-sure retraining program to build strength in the shoulder. 

The female triad

Finally, it’s important to note the existence of what’s called the “female triad.” Due to pressure from parents, coaches, and teammates, female athletes can suffer from demands to keep body weight down and body fat almost non-existent. 

The female triad includes eating disorders, disruption of normal menstruation, and rapid bone loss. Dr. Halbrecht is always available to consult with female athletes (and their parents, if appropriate) to prevent them from becoming ill and falling into unhealthy habits as they train. 

You can request an appointment at our office by calling 415-233-7996, or schedule online with our convenient booking system.

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