Thursday, November 24, 2022

Arsenal Analysis–Why ACL injuries are so common in women’s football, with Beth Mead the latest victim

Arsenal’s Beth Mead suffers ACL injury but why is this so common in women’s football by Michelle

Our Arsenal and Lioness star Beth suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) at the weekend, when Arsenal hosted Man Utd Women at Emirates stadium.

Arsenal youngster Teyah Goldie suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in March 2022 and she is still recovering and not match fit.

Although Arsenal have many injuries at the moment, 2 players out of the squad with ACL represents not far short of a 10% loss..

Recovery time for this injury can be several months, therefore it is not only the rest of Arsenal’s 2022/23 season that is in doubt for Beth. There is a very real possibility that Beth will still be recovering as England’s Lionesses’ head to Australia & New Zealand in July 2023 for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which is heart-breaking news for both club and country..

Female footballers are apparently up to six times more likely to suffer with an ACL injury. Alexia Putellas (Ballon d’Or Feminin winner in 2021 & 2022) missed Euro 2022 after rupturing her ACL days before Spain’s first match. Simone Magill also picked up the same injury in Northern Ireland’s opening game of the tournament against Norway, just days after signing for Aston Villa.

France striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto suffered a similar fate when she limped off in their second group game against Belgium, having also ruptured her ACL. She had been one of the favourites to win the Euro 2022 Golden Boot (which Beth Mead ultimately won).

Unfortunately, it’s not an uncommon thing for a women’s club to announce a player will be side-lined with a ruptured ACL. West Ham’s Jessica Ziu, Aston Villa’s Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah and Tottenham duo Kyah Simon and Ellie Brazil are just some of the players to be ruled out this season alone. We cannot possibly list all of the women football players.. The list goes on and on…. But why???

Speaking to Inside the WSL, female health specialist Dr Emma Ross explained: We know female athletes are up to six times more likely to have a non-contact ACL injury than their male counterparts. For example, when oestrogen is elevated in the menstrual cycle, and that happens in about the second week, it can affect the stability of joints. It can interfere with the collagen in our joints and it can create looser, more lax joints. A loose joint is therefore less stable and more inclined to injury.

Arsenal Women physio Gary Lewin also agrees that menstrual cycles can play a part in the increase in ACL injuries. He said: In general, I would say there is a link. What that link is, we haven’t found out definitively that I know of. There’s some assumptions and the different phases of a menstrual cycle lead to different levels of fatigue, co-ordination, which could result in a loss of power. That could be linked to the cause of them rupturing their cruciate. But women’s sport needs more research in general because a lot of the research is based on men’s sports.

This all leads to the big question – what can be done to help prevent so many female footballers from suffering with ACL injuries? Is there anything that can be done? Hopefully research will provide some answers..

It would seem that it’s not only periods and the requirement for ‘white shorts’ and periods that can hinder our female players..

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