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10 min. walk from Boston Manor Tube Station.
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E8, E3, E2, 207, 607, 83
Both men and women can be excellent athletes on any playing field. They can train hard as well as play hard, but there's one big difference between the two.
While they both get injuries, they don't happen the same way, nor have they always treated the same way either. Each gender has different body processes that dictate the various challenges they'll face.
Women face things like hormones, bone density, and menstrual abnormalities. Each of these causes unique problems that aren't seen with men athletes. For example, bone density can make women more susceptible to injuries than men. Incontinence occurs with some women, and it can cause them to avoid exercising altogether. This raises their risk of injuries because they're not prepared when they're called to play in a sporting event.
Women must do what they can to avoid as many injuries as possible. But, what types of injuries do women athletes face?
The Coastal Orthopaedic Center explains some of the more common injuries women may encounter when playing sports.
3. ACL ruptures
Because of oestrogen level fluctuations from menstruation problems, women are more likely to experience stress fractures. They're also at risk for a weakening bone mass density, as they get older, causing osteoporosis to occur for some women.
When bones aren't quite as strong as they once were, they break or fracture when the affected part impacts with a hard surface. A basketball player, for example, will jump to shoot a basket but land hard on their feet. The bones in their lower leg feel the impact and one of them gets a stress fracture.
Otherwise known as runner's knee, the Patellofemoral Syndrome is the pain and stiffness located near the kneecap, making activities like climbing or kneeling more difficult.
Women suffer from this more often than men, because they have a wider pelvis, which throws off the alignment in their legs. The misalignment causes undue stress on one area of the knee, increasing the chance of injury to the kneecap and surrounding tissues.
The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is one of the major ligaments found in the knee. It connects the thigh-bone to the shin-bone, to keep the knee joint stabilised.
When a person stops abruptly, jumps and then lands awkwardly on one leg, or pivots quickly on one foot, the ACL can tear either completely or partially. Women have a higher risk of injuring this ligament because they often move differently than men.
A concussion is when a person experiences a blow to the head, which causes the brain to move about quickly in the skull. The injury in the brain could lead to cell damage or changes in the chemical composition.
While we're used to hearing it happening in males, because of American football, it seems the women are more susceptible to getting one. While there's no clear reason why this is, it's thought that hormonal changes make them more sensitive to brain injuries.
The plantar fascia is a connective tissue that runs from the heel bone to the toes. This tissue will sometimes overstretch, which could cause a tear in the foot.
When that happens, the person experiences pain, inflammation of the area, and stiffness usually near the heel. Because of this, plantar fasciitis is thought to plague women more than men due to some risk factors related to pregnancy and wearing unsupported shoes, like high heels.
Rotator cuff tears are common injuries in any athlete. They occur when a person performs a repetitive motion, like swimming, or reaching with their arm to hit a volleyball, for example.
Women are more susceptible to this kind of injury as they tend to have less upper body strength than men. The connective tissues surrounding the rotator cuff aren't as tight as some men athletes, so women are more sensitive to tears and pull.
The British Journal of Medicine explains that getting a physiotherapist on board is one of the most important things women need when pursuing an athletic sport.
To avoid as many injuries as possible will take proper training as well as good quality care for their overall health. Here's what a physiotherapist can do for women in sports or those thinking about getting into one.
They can show you what exercises and stretching techniques to use when training for upcoming sports events. A physiotherapist knows how sports affects both men and women differently and can help women come up with a training routine customized to their own unique situation, instead of using generic ones that work well for men specifically.
Women are at risk for other issues besides sports injuries. Pelvic floor dysfunction is one example. Some women find that they're unable to tighten or relax the pelvic floor muscles leading to other conditions like urinary incontinence.
While these issues can be embarrassing for some women to talk about, a physiotherapist who's gained their trust can discreetly bring this up. If they find out that it is an issue, they can help by introducing biofeedback training helping to overcome the problem.
As an injury heals, a physiotherapist can help a female athlete strengthen the muscles, ligaments or whatever's needed to help them get back on the playing field, no matter what sport they play. They're knowledgeable about all types of injuries and know exactly how to get them in working order again, without causing further problems to the affected body part.
Using their expertise, they know which exercise techniques women should avoid, so they can build the affected muscle or ligament the right way preventing more injuries in the future.
Women are capable of playing any sport they put their mind to, provided they take good care of themselves and try to prevent injuries from occurring on the playing field. Having a good physiotherapist at your side will ensure you stay in tip-top shape for the next event you're scheduled to play in.
For a highly skilled physiotherapist in the Ealing area, contact one of our experts at CK Physiotherapy. We can help you stay fit and strong so you can be the athlete you want to be.