Jan 29, 2015
Birth Control Pills & ACL Injuries Revisited

The ongoing effort to reduce non-contact ACL injuries in female athletes returned to the subject of hormone levels after a McGill University study suggested that birth control pills may help stabilize knee joints.

Researchers used an arthrometer to measure knee displacement in 78 female athletes, which included 42 who were taking birth control pills and 36 who were not. The women taking birth control pills showed less anterior translation of the tibia than those not using the pills. Other research suggests that tighter knee joints may make women less susceptible to ligament injuries.

“Previous research findings suggest that female hormones may play a role in altering ligament composition,” Principal Investigator Paul Martineau said in Women’s Health News. “Based on these studies we decided to look at the effect of oral contraception on knee ligaments.”

The study concluded that oral contraception “may have a role to play in the prevention of ACL injuries by prophylactically targeting one of the variables responsible for the increased ACL injury rates in women.” The study was published in the September 2004 edition of the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.


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