Shot of two young runners training together on the road

Shot of two young runners training together on the road

Everyone is susceptible to bone and joint problems, but a new study suggests that your gender influences your degree of risk for certain orthopaedic conditions. Because of their physical differences, males and females have different orthopaedic injuries. For example, they have different structural anatomies, as well as different genetics and hormones. It’s important to recognize these differences so that you can be more aware of whether you’re more at risk for an injury. Here are a few of the most common orthopedic injuries in men and women, along with some considerations and warnings.

Typical Orthopaedic Injuries in Males

  • Finger (phalangeal) and hand (metacarpal) fractures mostly occur in men. These injuries are primarily due to playing contact sports, using hand tools, snow blowers, lawn mowers and other tools that men generally operate. Injuries to fingers and hands can also be the result of fistfights, which men are known for more than women.
  • Men are three times more at risk for Achilles tears than women are. This may be because men participate more in uphill running, speed training, jumping and contact sports. As a result, this can take a toll on the Achilles tendon, which is situated on the center-back of the ankle and above the heel.
  • Soft-tissue injuries are seen more in males than in females. Besides Achilles tendon tears, these also include tears, such as those to the quadriceps, distal biceps and pectoral tendons.

Common Orthopaedic Injuries in Females

  • Bones injuries, such as osteoporosis and hip fractures—These issues affect women more because women lose bone density after menopause caused from a loss of estrogen. This condition makes their bones are more susceptible to fractures.  
  • Sprained ankles—Although this can affect both sexes, it happens more to women due to their different anatomy. In fact, women sprain their ankles twice as much as men do.
  • ACL tears—It’s not quite clear why women are three to eight times more likely to have ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears. On the other hand, the female reproductive hormones that affect joint laxity could be a reason. Other factors may include anatomical differences in the width of the pelvis, knee articulation and leg alignment.
  • Women also tend more to develop tennis elbow more than men do. This condition occurs when the elbow tendons become inflamed from the forearm muscles being overused.

It is important to remember that although gender is a factor contributing to orthopaedic risk, it is only one facet of your health profile. We encourage you to speak with your doctor about preventative steps you can take to maintain and improve your overall health at your next visit.