- Biomechanical alignment.
- Suboptimal muscle function and strenght.
- Poor mobility at adjacent joints.
- Poor strenght in surrounding musculature.
- Excessive tension in surrounding muscle and fascia.
- Flat-out overuse!
If you look at the alignment of the human body, you’ll see that the knee is naturally in a position of slight valgus – in other words, the knee naturally caves in slightly. Serious issues arise when the relative angle between then hip and knee (also known as the “Q-angle”) is excessive in nature.
It’s often cited that female athletes are almost ten times more likely than their male counterparts to fall victim to an ACL injury! The Q-angle is often mentioned in discussions of female athletes, and for good reason. The natural biomechanical alignment of women, specifically a wider pelvis, increases the Q-angle and leaves them at an increased risk of knee injury when compared to men. A study by Moul showed that at 30 degrees of knee flexion, males averaged a 5.5 degree valgus angle, while women averaged 14 degrees! No wonder there’s such a discrepancy in ACL tears between men and women!
While we can’t change our genetics or bone structure, we can make most of what we have and optimize our strength and alignment to decrease the risk of injury.