Why are AFLW players 9x more likely to sustain an ACL injury than male AFL players?

There are increasing numbers of female athletes moving into AFL which is great!! BUT, the number of ACL injuries I’m seeing coming through the door in the last couple of years is SCARY!

Here are some of the factors that are contributing to ACL injuries in AFLW:

NEW SPORT – AFLW is a relatively new sport meaning that most women have not grown up playing it all their lives like men have – moving from netball or dancing to Australian football is a HUGE change in the body that requires training and adaptation. Additionally to this, there needs to be a new appreciation and understanding of the 360-degree element of AFL that means a fast change of direction, as well as impact, can occur at any time.

FUNDING – Unfortunately most amateur clubs do not have the funding for team physios and S&C coaches so there is often a big lack in prevention programs, pre-season screenings, warm up and cool down, education, and load management throughout the season

Aflw Player Injury To Knee

What are the Female athlete-specific factors?

Hormones – Every month our bodies are releasing hormones – Estradiol, Relaxin and Progesterone have all been shown to INCREASE laxity of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) with the highest rate of laxity being between Days 10-14 of the menstrual cycle (Park et al. 2009).

Biomechanics – Women naturally have a wider pelvis than men which increases the ‘Q-angle’ between the hip and the knee. This means that without appropriate single leg control, we may be more prone to the knee dropping in towards the body, placing more stress on the ACL

Male And Female Q Angle Differences

What can you do about this?

Talk to a Physio – Get an individualised screening and find out what areas of your body you need to work on for ACL injury prevention.

Get strong! Just rocking up to trainings/games isn’t enough to get you through an AFLW season injury free – start a strength program at the gym with the aim to build up your strength in the offseason and maintain during the season. Also include practicing good change of direction, jumping and landing technique.

Recovery – Eat right, get enough sleep, look after your body physically and mentally, warm up and cool down and if you have an ACL injury, get it rehabbed properly!

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Mana NankivellMana Nankivell
00:38 18 Apr 23
I highly recommend Trent and the Physio Fit team.I sustained a knee injury (fat pad impingement) in a half-marathon around 18 months ago, and after 12 months of seeing a (different) physio and sports doctors without any improvement, I was told by the doctor that I would "probably just have to put up with the pain".I booked in with the team at Physio Fit for another opinion, and it was the best decision I ever made. Trent put together a very manageable rehab plan for me and was quick to respond and adapt when something didn't work out. In the past 6 months, I've gone from not being able to walk without pain or even think about hiking, running or cycling without my knee flaring up, to running my first post-injury 5.5km trail run and hiking 10km with a 10kg pack!
Laura O'ConnorLaura O'Connor
08:47 05 Feb 23
This clinic is the pinnacle of physiotherapy in Adelaide. Ive seen a couple of different physios at physiofit over the years for different injuries and the experience has been absolutely amazing each time! Highly recommend seeing the team here for all your physio needs!
Ryen ArcherRyen Archer
02:50 03 Feb 23
Corey is absolutely fantastic, worked out my issues and we have been working to improve them for a few months now and all I can say is I am feeling a million times better! thanks physio fit! Keep up the great work!
Amy SzyndlerAmy Szyndler
02:44 03 Feb 23
I attended Physio Fit to get my tennis elbow treated. Always a friendly greeting from the lovely reception staff, and my physio, Corey, was fantastic; very friendly, knowledgeable and provided treatment that was personalised and holistic. Following Corey's advice and exercise regime helped me get back to the activities I enjoy, pain-free. Highly recommended.
Debbie MossDebbie Moss
07:21 02 Feb 23
Have been taking my daughter here for quite a few months now for ongoing back issues. The care that she has been given through her Physiotherapist Corey, has been fantastic. Everything has been explained and if exercises have needed to be modified he has. Would thoroughly recommend this place for any Physio needs. All staff that we have dealt with have been friendly and professional. A great team and environment.
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