Yes, women are more prone than men to suffer from the most common sports-related injuries. There are a variety of purported reasons for this, but much remains uncertain. While a combination of factors is likely responsible for the discrepancy, the most basic premise is that it’s the result of body differences, such as bone geometry, bone density, hormone levels, nutritional status and muscle mass.
When it comes to triathlon, one of the key differences is the higher incidence of bone stress injury among female athletes – 6.5% rate versus 9.7% according to a 2011 study. Interestingly, the same study reported that female athletes with normal weight and bone health are less likely to develop stress fractures, showing that gender is less important than the overall physical shape/condition of the athlete.
Other injuries known to be more common in female athletes include ankle sprains, rotator cuff shoulder conditions and plantar fasciitis. Awareness of these differences can be useful when drawing up a training schedule, and making sure it includes relevant, and sufficient, strength and conditioning exercises.
What are the most common triathlon injuries, and how do you avoid them?