Updated: October 20th, 2011


There are a number of injuries that afflict female runners more than male runners. Here we explore four of those, with a brief description of each.

1. Knee Chondromalacia:

this is one of the most common injuries in female runners. It afflicts the area under what is known as the ‘knee cap’. In this injury the bone tissue (cartilage) in that area around the knee cap becomes softened. This is normally due to the effects of wear and tear. Since this type of tissue is ordinarily supposed to be tough, this softening can become a big problem. It is a condition that afflicts female runners more than male runners, although the latter are not altogether immune from it. Even people who are not athletes sometimes experience it, especially in their latter years. The main symptom of Knee Chondromalacia is pain emanating from that lower part of the knee cap, which soon spreads to pervade the whole knee cap. If you are experiencing this and the pain is prolonged, it would be a good idea to get it checked out.

2. Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries:

commonly referred by their abbreviation, as PCL injuries, these too seem to be more common injuries in female runners than in their male counterparts. The most commonly affected area is the front part of the knee. Depending on the sports one is involved in, Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries in women can either be caused by ‘impact’ to that front part of the knee (in contact sports, such as football) or simply by the over-extension of the knee, to which athletes in all sports are prone, but which particularly affects runners. Contrary to what one may at first imagine, posterior cruciate ligament injury does not always translate to pain. A commoner manifestation is a ‘cracking noise’ emanating from that front part of the knee. It should not be ignored but should be checked out by a doctor to prevent further damage.

3. Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries:

like the posterior cruciate ligament injuries, this is one of the more common athletic injuries in female runners than in male runners. Unlike the posterior cruciate ligament injuries that are typically linked to either the over-extension of the knees or impact on the knees, in the case of anterior cruciate ligament injuries, a number of other possible causes emerge. Those other possible causes include those situations, during sporting activity, when an athlete brings herself to a sudden halt from a very high running speed or when, following a long jump, the athletes fails to land correctly or yet still a condition where the knee gets twisted – typically due to the athlete attempting to change her direction without moving her feet. Pain is sometimes a manifestation of this injury, though at times, all that may be experienced is a ‘cracking noise’ emanating from the afflicted region of the knee (which to the keen runner, can be more worrying than pain itself).

4. Patellofemoral pain:

this too, is a problem that while afflicting both male and female runners, seems to affect females more. As its name suggests, it is a condition characterized by pain, in the region where the patella moves in the knee, basically in the knee-cap area. The exact cause of this injury is still subject for study, although it is widely thought to have something to with problems in patella movement. The manifestation, of course, as the name suggests, is through pain – in that region within which the patella moves, along the femur bone where there are grooves for patella movement.

If you feel that you have experienced any of these running injuries, whether you are a female or male runner, you would be well advised to get these checked out with your doctor, to safeguard your future health and mobility and ensure that you are able to continue your participation in sport.

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