The authors measured lower limb alignment and range of joint motion in Japanese university athletes, surveyed their history of lower limb sports injuries, and investigated the presence or absence of potential gender-related differences in these athletes.
The subjects were 224 Japanese university athletes; all of the subjects were first-year university students with a high level of competitive sports skill.
To assess lower limb alignment, the Q-angle and arch height index were measured in the standing position.
To assess range of joint motion of the lower limbs, the ranges of internal and external rotation of both hip joints were measured.
Females had a significantly higher Q-angle and hip joint internal rotation angle, and a significantly lower arch height index than males.
In total, a significantly higher proportion of females than males had a history of lower limb sports injury.
Furthermore, a significantly higher proportion of females than males had a history of foot/ankle injuries.
The Q-angle in females was significantly higher than that of males in this study and correlated with the tibia-femur angle, implying that females have a greater knee valgus than males.
An increase in knee valgus increases the tensile stress experienced by the medial knee and compressive stress by the lateral knee, and is thus considered to be associated with medial collateral ligament and meniscus damage.
Furthermore, an increase in the Q-angle increases the compressive stress on the patellofemoral joint, causing patellofemoral joint inflammation.
The knee joint at ACL injury onset is often in the valgus position; therefore, an increase in knee valgus is thought to increase the risk of physical stress on the knee and as a consequence, ACL injury.
Consequently, it is inferred that females, who have a greater Q-angle than males, have a higher incidence of sports-related knee injuries.
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