UT Health Physicians

Sports Medicine Care for Female Athletes

Did you know that women are eight times more likely to have anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries than men and are twice as likely to experience ankle sprains? At UT Health San Antonio, we understand that every athlete is built differently. Female athletes are setting records, pushing boundaries and competing at higher levels than ever before. That’s why we’ve assembled a specialized team that understands the female athlete’s unique needs — all to get you back to the activities you love as soon as possible.

Common conditions in female athletes of all ages

Women are typically born with looser connective tissue. That allows for a greater range of motion and flexibility but may also subject them to a greater risk of injury. This can affect women of all ages and present as pain or instability in many areas such as the shoulder, hip, knee or ankle. In fact, ACL tears of the knee are one of the most common injuries that occur in female athletes.

Active females are also more prone to overuse injuries. Stress injuries most commonly affect the bones and the tendons surrounding them. These injuries can be caused by repetitive motion such as high mileage running, golf or tennis. For many women, stress injures can manifest in issues like tennis elbow and heel pain. If pain is limiting your lifestyle, seeking treatment early can help keep you active. 

Particularly as women age, they are at risk of losing bone density. Estrogen, the hormone present in women that helps protect bones, decreases sharply as women age. Women may also experience a decrease in muscle mass. While low bone density may result in minor side effects at first, it can lead to more serious injuries. Bone density and muscle mass can be preserved by regularly participating in weight-bearing exercise (lifting weights or walking) and consuming the appropriate amounts of calcium and vitamin D. Our team of physicians focused on female-specific care can help you come up with a personalized injury-prevention protocol.

Specialized care for your needs

“Female athletes are a unique and powerful population. They are knowledgeable, adaptive and intuitive. Trust those instincts, and if you are experiencing any limitation in your activity, our team at UT Health is here with the most effective treatments and prevention protocols specifically for women,” said Katherine Bartush, MD, UT Health San Antonio’s director of sports medicine and head orthopaedic surgeon for the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential for quickly getting you back to the activities you love. We offer both non-surgical and surgical treatments, and our team is here to provide you with personalized, cutting-edge care. We are proud to have several female orthopaedic surgeons who understand the distinctive needs of active women and who have also overcome personal orthopedic injuries. 

To learn more about UT Health sports medicine and orthopaedics visit www.uthealthcare.org/ortho or call 210-450-9300 to make an appointment with one of our specialists.


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