Sports offer so many benefits, from getting active to making lifelong teammate friends to achieving esteem-boosting personal milestones. Despite all the upsides, however, it’s all too common for teenage athletes to injure themselves. Unfortunately, teen sports injuries tend to occur more frequently in girls. But why are teen girls more susceptible to sports injuries than teen boys? Learn why this happens and what you can do to help your teenage daughter stay safe and strong on the court, rink, field and beyond.
What types of injuries are common?
Overall, kids who play football, soccer, basketball, cheerleading and lacrosse are more likely to get injured than children who don’t play those sports. And, the rates of injury in those sports are higher among girls than boys, too. Girls are at a higher risk of hurting their knees, shoulders, necks and ankles. Some of the most common girls’ sports injuries include:
- Concussions, which are injuries that occur when a person’s head and brain move back and forth too fast
- Kneecap pain, which can happen with overuse or lack of control in the hip and leg muscles
- Shoulder looseness or dislocation, which happens when the upper arm bone comes out of the shoulder socket
- Sprained ankles, which involve small tears in ankle ligaments — the strong tissues that connect bones to other bones
- Stress fractures, which cause tiny cracks to form in bones after repeated impacts
- Torn ligaments (sprains) in other areas of the body
Why are teen girls more susceptible to sports injuries?
There are several main reasons that female teen athletes are at greater risk of injuring themselves. Some have to do with how girls’ bodies naturally grow, and others are due to training.
Girls typically have smaller spaces in their knees than boys do, which leaves less room for one of the main ligaments inside to work properly. When girls jump, land and run, this smaller space creates more stress on knee and ankle ligaments, resulting in sprains and inflammation.
Estrogen — the hormone that’s responsible for female body characteristics — may also play a role in joint injuries. This hormone, which is present in much smaller quantities in boys, causes ligaments and joints to relax. During sports, when your girl is landing hard on her feet or running fast, her ligaments flex more and aren’t as supportive due to the estrogen. This makes it easier to get hurt.
Teen girls and adult women also tend to have less upper-body strength than their male counterparts. Even with strengthening weight-training routines, it’s still more difficult for women and girls to build their upper-body muscles. This may explain why teen girls are prone to shoulder injuries from sports.
What can you do to prevent sports injuries?
While many factors make teen girls more susceptible to sports injuries, there are steps you can take to prevent them from happening. Learning proper techniques for running, jumping and landing can all help her stay injury-free during practice or a game. It’s also important for teen girls to warm up properly before enjoying any sports or a workout. This ensures their joints and muscles are prepared to respond to vigorous activity. Finally, adding weightlifting into your daughter’s training routine can help her stay strong. It can lower her risk of getting hurt because it’ll help her control her leg, arm and back muscles better.
Injuries can happen even with the best training plans in place. Need to find a doctor? Make an appointment with a sports medicine specialist near you today.