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To discuss the rehabilitation program after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction in the female athlete. In addition, we will discuss 8 unique characteristics identified in the female athlete and specific training drills to address and correct the potentially deleterious effects of these unique characteristics.
The female athlete appears to be more susceptible to noncontact ACL injuries than the male athlete. There seem to be many differences between the female and male athlete that may contribute to the increased injury rate in the female athlete. These variations include anatomical and neuromuscular considerations and differences.
Based on the unique characteristics of the female athlete and the anatomical and neuromuscular dissimilarities, a specially designed rehabilitation program has been established for the female athlete after ACL surgery.
The rehabilitation drills discussed in this article challenge the neuromuscular system through proprioception, kinesthesia, dynamic joint stability, neuromuscular control, and perturbation training activities. Improving the female athlete's neuromuscular system will, we believe, expedite the injured athlete's recovery after ACL injury or surgery. Although the concepts discussed are part of a postoperative rehabilitation program after ACL surgery, these concepts may also be implemented as a preventive program to assist in reducing the incidence of ACL injuries in the female athlete.