While both men and women can suffer orthopedic injuries, there are some musculoskeletal conditions that affect women more than men. This may be due to any number of factors, including differences in anatomy, hormones, and genetic susceptibility.
Here are just a few orthopedic conditions that seem to plague women at a far greater rate than men:
- Osteoporosis. As women get older, especially around the time of menopause, estrogen levels decrease and often results in loss of bone density. This may cause bone fragility and a higher risk of bone fractures. Estrogen assists in the strengthening of bone – without it, bones become brittle and weak and become more susceptible to breaks. The good news is the condition can be combatted with exercise, a well-balanced diet, and vitamins and supplements.
- Ankle Sprains. It’s a little-known fact that women sprain their ankles twice as often as men. This may be due to the fact women have a weaker bone structure, lower muscle mass, and remain far more flexible than men. Other possible reasons for women’s susceptibility to ankle sprains include a greater likelihood of vitamin D and calcium deficiencies among women.
- ACL Tears. Women are prime candidates for ACL tears – they are up to eight times more likely to tear the anterior cruciate ligament in their knee than men. How is this possible? Balance differences between women and men mean they land differently when jumping. Women also tend to pivot on one foot when changing directions whereas men tend to shuffle their feet. That extra moment of friction and twisting motion means a greater chance of tearing the ligament. A wider pelvic bone creates a narrower spot in the knee for the ligament to move within, possibly resulting in more frequent tears.
- The combination of narrow feet and a tendency to wear even narrower shoes, especially those with high heels, can lead to women developing Morton’s neuromas much more often than men. This condition involves the nerve that runs under the foot and between the third and fourth toes. When the toes are squeezed together too often, the nerve becomes compressed and irritated. Tissue surrounding the nerve thickens in response, creating a painful bulge on the ball of the foot.
Differences in muscle mass and bone density means women are more likely to suffer certain orthopedic conditions more often than men. Add to this how common it is for women to wear ill-fitting and high-heeled shoes, and they do indeed seem primed to suffer orthopedic injuries such as ankle sprains, Morton’s neuroma, ACL tears, and osteoporosis and bone breaks more often than men.
Dr. Natalie Nielsen
Give yourself the orthopedic treatment you need by contacting the medical professionals at North Country Orthopaedic Group. Call (315) 782-1650 today or use our convenient appointment request form to set up your consultation.