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Men Seem More Likely Than Women to Develop Hole in Knee Cartilage
Date:7/7/2011

ercent of roughly 15,800 patients between the ages of 8 and 69 had cartilage lesions. Among this subgroup of approximately 1,000 patients, 5.6 percent were women, while 7 percent were men.

The team suggested that gender be added to a list of known risk factors for such lesions, which include older age, history of prior surgery and a waiting period between an ACL injury and reconstructive surgery that is greater than a year.

Dr. Matthew Matava, an associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, noted that the latest finding runs somewhat contrary to typical assumptions.

"It has been long known that girls have eight times the risk for an ACL injury than boys," he noted, "due to the way they fire their quads and hamstrings in response to a sprain in the knee joint. So, in terms of cartilage injury risk, it's been assumed to be kind of the same situation in terms of gender," Matava said.

"But men do tend to be bigger and somewhat faster, and put more stress on their body," he added. "So this makes some common sense. But does it change anything we would do as orthopaedic surgeons? Not really, other than to counsel our patients as to what their risks are once they already have this kind of injury."

Dr. C. David Geier Jr., director of the Medical University of South Carolina Sports Medicine Program, suggested that while the gender finding was intriguing, the emphasis should be placed on the need to get ACL patients of either gender into surgery sooner rather than later, to reduce their overall risk for associated cartilage damage.

"ACL tears are much more common in females than males," said Geier, who is also an assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery. "So, some doctors might find it interesting that males with these injuries are more likely to have cartilage damage," he noted.

"Active people who are worried about doing more harm to their knee might consider surgery early afte
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