Intraarticular injuries associated with anterior cruciate ligament tear: findings at ligament reconstruction in high school and recreational athletes. An analysis of sex-based differences

Dana P Piasecki, Kurt P Spindler, Todd A Warren, Jack T Andrish, Richard D Parker
American Journal of Sports Medicine 2003, 31 (4): 601-5

BACKGROUND: Despite research on the increased risk of anterior cruciate ligament tears in female athletes, few studies have addressed sex differences in the incidence of associated intraarticular injuries.

HYPOTHESIS: When patients are stratified by sport and competition level, no sex differences exist in either the mechanism of injury or pattern of intraarticular injuries observed at anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.

METHODS: Two hundred twenty-one athletes undergoing anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction met our inclusion criteria of anterior cruciate ligament tear as a singular event without reinjury or history of prior injury or surgery in either knee. Data were collected on competition level (high school, amateur), sport (basketball, soccer, skiing), mechanism of injury, articular cartilage injuries, and meniscal tears. Data were statistically analyzed by sex with the chi-square test and Student's t-test.

RESULTS: High school athletes had no significant sex differences in mechanism of injury. Female soccer athletes had fewer medial meniscal tears than did male athletes, and female basketball players had fewer medial femoral condyle injuries. At the amateur level, female basketball players had more contact injuries, an earlier onset of swelling, and fewer lateral meniscal tears than did male players.

CONCLUSION: At the high school level, male and female athletes shared a common mechanism of injury, and yet the female athletes had fewer intraarticular injuries in basketball and soccer. If such intraarticular injuries prove to be a significant risk factor for poor long-term outcome, women may enjoy a better prognosis after reconstruction.

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