Sex Matters From Sports to Life, Gender Really Makes a Difference in Musculoskeletal Health

A Person's Sex Really Does Make a Difference When It Comes to Musculoskeletal Health

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - March 5, 2008) - We know men and women are different on the outside, but the differences on the inside are astronomical, as well. Today, orthopaedic surgeons are calling for increased research and education when it comes to protecting a woman's musculoskeletal health.

"It is not a question of which sex is defined as normal or prototypical," said Kim Templeton, MD, associate professor in the department of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Kansas Medical Center, in Kansas City, Kan., and chief of orthopaedic surgery at the Kansas City VA Medical Center. "Men and women are now and always will be two different variations on a theme; therefore, it is imperative we understand those differences and have distinctly different options for preventing disease and injury for each sex."

The number of women athletes with orthopaedic injuries now reflects the numbers of women who are flooding into both amateur and professional sports. "Although we, as orthopaedic surgeons, are better able to fix those injuries today," Dr. Templeton noted, "these women will never be like they were before their injuries, and they are increasing their risk of becoming disabled at an earlier age." Women already have a higher rate of arthritis just because they are women, but add a sports injury to the mix and the risk of actually developing arthritis shoots way up the charts.

Dr. Templeton shares a few more facts about what is really happening:

FACT: Most athletic shoes are not specially designed for the female foot.

REALITY: Compared to men, women have a narrower heel and a wider forefoot, so wearing shoes that do not consider those variables may increase the number of foot and ankle and, potentially, knee injuries. Many companies just downsize a version of the men's shoe.

FACT: Women tend to be "quadricep dominant." A woman's quadricep muscles fire faster and stronger than her hamstring muscles; the function of those muscles in men is more balanced.

REALITY: If this inherent difference in muscle function and coordination is not taken into account during training, women can be more susceptible to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. This is one explanation for the substantially higher incidence of ACL injuries among women, compared to men.

A call for more research, better training and prevention, along with increased education, will be just some of the topics discussed at a media briefing entitled, "Sex Matters: From Sports to Life, Gender Really Makes a Difference in Musculoskeletal Health," at the 75th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), in the Moscone Convention Center, South Mezzanine, on Wednesday, Mar. 5, 2008, at 11:15 a.m., in Room 224.

Join Dr. Templeton as she moderates a panel including: Laura Tosi, MD, Letha Griffin, MD, Jo Hannafin, MD, and Naomi Shields, MD, for frank discussion and more interesting facts and realities when it comes to a women's musculoskeletal health.

Editor's Note: Full disclosure information for each AAOS media-briefing participant is available upon request. Please contact Catherine Dolf, (Cell) (847) 894-9112 or Lauren Pearson, (Cell) (224) 374-8610 for more information.

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Contact Information: For more information, contact: Catherine Dolf C: (847) 894-9112 O: (847) 384-4034 Lauren Pearson C: (224) 374-8610 O: (847) 384-4031