Mitigating ACL Injury Risks in Female Soccer Players: A Comprehensive Approach

Mitigating ACL Injury Risks in Female Soccer Players: A Comprehensive Approach

The 2023 Women's World Cup saw the absence of key players like Beckie, Miedema, Williamson, and Mead, who were sidelined due to ACL injuries. Surprisingly, a 2022 analysis revealed that five out of the 20 Ballon d'Or female nominees had experienced ACL injuries, while none of the 30 male nominees shared the same fate. This gender disparity in ACL injuries emphasizes the need for proactive measures in women's soccer.

Understanding ACL Injuries:

An ACL injury is a significant setback for athletes, particularly in sports like soccer, where agility and directional changes are constant. Currently, surgical intervention and approximately one year of rehabilitation are the primary methods of recovery.

The Economic Impact of ACL Injuries:

A recent Australian study highlighted the financial burden of ACL injuries in amateur soccer, estimating an annual cost of 69 million Australian dollars for ACL reconstruction. This underscores the urgency for preventive measures to reduce both the physical and economic toll of these injuries.

Gender Disparities and Risk Factors:

Studies consistently show that female athletes face a higher risk of ACL injuries, ranging from 3 to 10 times more likely than their male counterparts. Several factors contribute to this increased risk, including quad dominance, wider hip to knee angles, suboptimal jump and landing techniques, reduced muscle strength, and decreased fitness over time.

Honsberger Physio+: A Preventive Approach:

At Honsberger Physio+, we advocate for a proactive approach to reduce ACL injury risks in female soccer players. Our athlete screening program assesses soccer-specific strength, flexibility, movement patterns, and foot structure, identifying potential risks and formulating strategies to address deficits.

Case Study: Identifying Risk Factors in a Local Soccer Team

Recent testing on a competitive soccer team of 16-year-old females revealed significant risk factors during team assessments. Findings included foot overpronation in 6 out of 14 players, asymmetrical anterior pelvic tilt in 12 out of 13 players, and glute weakness in 7 out of 13 players. These factors contribute to poor jumping-landing techniques, increasing the risk of ACL injuries.

Success Across Various Sports:

Honsberger Physio+ has successfully implemented injury prevention strategies across diverse sports such as soccer, hockey, alpine skiing, and, more recently, golf. Our comprehensive approach aims not only to reduce injury risks but also to enhance overall athletic performance.

The Economic Benefit of Prevention:

The Australian study demonstrated a direct correlation between adherence to injury prevention programs and a reduction in ACL injuries. For every 10% increase in adherence, there were 100 fewer ACL injuries per year, resulting in substantial savings of almost 10 million Australian dollars.

In conclusion, prioritizing ACL injury prevention in female soccer players is crucial for both the players' well-being and the economic sustainability of the sport. Implementing comprehensive screening programs and preventive measures can significantly reduce the incidence of ACL injuries, allowing players to stay on the field and perform at their best.

Want to learn more about how we can help with ACL injury prevention?  Reach out to

Written by: Efan Gonsalves, PT, AT (retired) Clinical Director- Markham 

British Journal of Sports Medicine
National Library of Medicine
The Medical Journal of Australia
The Athletic
The Score

Orthopedic Rehabilitation
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