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Are Women Weak in the Knees?
New Report from Harvard Medical School Answers Knee and Hip Questions
BOSTON, Dec. 2006/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The knees suffer injury more often
than any other joint, in part because of their intricate system of ligaments.
Women are especially prone to knee problems, and they injure the anterior
cruciate ligament (ACL) twice as often as men. Knees & Hips: A Troubleshooting
Guide to Knee and Hip Pain, a new report from Harvard Medical School, explains
how a combination of anatomy and hormones contribute to women's weak knees. The
report also outlines steps women can take to reduce their risk of knee injury.
According to Knees & Hips, the Q-angle, the angle formed at the knee where the
slanting line of the femur (thigh) bone meets the vertical line from the kneecap
to the ankles, is more pronounced in women than in men because women tend to
have wider hips. This increases strain on the knee. Researchers also speculate
that high levels of estrogen can make the knee ligaments more flexible while
weakening their shock absorption.
Differences in training techniques may add to the problem. For example, female
athletes, who run in a more upright position than men, tend to strongly contract
their quadriceps, which also increases stress on their ligaments.
The report explains how to safely reduce the risk of knee injuries by wearing
the right shoes, stretching the quads and hamstrings before exercise, and being
mindful during exercise. It also discusses symptoms and treatment for specific
Knees & Hips is edited by David Scott Martin, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor
of Orthopedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Attending Orthopedic Surgeon
at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Additional topics in the 41-page report
* innovative testing for knee and hip problems
* nonsurgical treatments for knees and hips
* joint replacement, including what it's like to undergo surgery and how
to rehabilitate at home.
Knees & Hips: A Troubleshooting Guide to Knee and Hip Pain is available for $24
from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical
School. Order it online at http://www.health.harvard.edu/KH or by calling
1-877-649-9457 (toll free).