“Women are more prone to an ACL tear in the first part of their menstrual cycle,” says Dr. Tehrany. “Studies have shown that women are more at risk of injuring their ACL during the preovulatory phase of their menstrual cycle. Exactly why this is more likely is not fully known, however, it is likely that the increase in estradiol, a female estrogen hormone, during the preovulatory phase can be to blame. It is believed that hormones have an effect on the extent of muscle stiffness and contractions of the knee. This, in turn, can make the knee more vulnerable to injury.”
Maybe more reason to stay in and treat yourself to self-care during that time of the month?
How to Prevent Potential Injuries
Women might have biology stacked against them, but there are certain measures they can take in order to prevent potential knee injuries. Dr. Tehrany suggests avoiding heavy impact, repetitive loads, and deep squats as well as high-impact sports like football, basketball, and soccer.
As for “safe” fitness options? Dr. Tehrany says swimming and walking are safe bets. “Also, ACL prevention programs including plyometrics have been shown to be valuable.”
If you suspect that you might have torn your ACL, then you’ll know it by its popping sound, severe pain, loss of motion, and swelling. “If you experience these symptoms, it is best to see a doctor right away,” says Dr. Tehrany.
Although as a woman you might be more prone to knee injuries, it doesn’t mean that you should stop living your life, especially if you like an active lifestyle.
As Dr. Tehrany says, “Enjoy your life, be as active as you can, learn to prevent injuries, and see a specialist if you have pain or instability. And, above all, don’t worry.”