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Women Athletes and Knee Injuries

Recovery is possible, but it takes time

You're playing some basketball, plant your feet and then hear a pop in your knee. In all likelihood, the diagnosis won't be good. Injuries to the knee's anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are increasingly common. But there's some good news, too. Treatment for those injuries is getting more sophisticated.

According to an article in The Bergen Record, the number of ACL tears have doubled in the past 20 years. And a disproportionate number of those injuries are affecting women. Part of the reason is that there are more women participating in sports. Another reason could be that women are increasingly playing sports that involve jumping and pivoting, such as volleyball, soccer and basketball.

It's possible to repair the ACL, but it involves about two weeks of pretty severe pain after surgery. Then, after months of intensive therapy, you might be able to manage a slow jog. Within eight months, many athletes are able to resume their former activities to some degree. But there are no guarantees, and it's possible the injury can happen all over again. Some athletes, like basketball star Rebecca Lobo, have to abandon their careers. Others, like soccer star Brandi Chastain, go on to have tremendous athletic careers.

To find out more about ACL injuries, you can read this from the University of Wisconsin Medical Center, or this from the University of Washington.

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