E-24B Free Communication/Slide Gender Response to Physiological and Hormonal Changes
Female athletes experience a significantly greater number of non-contact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), ankle and back injuries when compared with male athletes in similar sports. The physiological hormonal cycling in females has gained attention in establishing a relationship of the incidence of these injuries in female athletes with specific hormones, most notably estrogen and progesterone. Relaxin is a polypeptide hormone that has been previously associated with pregnancy; however relaxin is produced by the corpus luteum in non-pregnant normally menstruating females. Relaxin is known to alter collagen synthesis which reduces the intrinsic strength of connective tissue. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a relationship between the speculative cycling of relaxin, labeled as the menstrual cycle relaxin phase (MCRP) in normally menstruating females with new injury or pain.
28 collegiate and post-collegiate Division III female track and field athletes completed daily training logs throughout their track and field season recording menstrual cycle, injury and pain. This group represented a total of 109 menstrual cycles and 2297 days of recorded data.
Probability of new injury and pain by day were computed, which revealed trends of high and low risk of injury and pain through a 30-day cycle. Chi-square analysis revealed a statistically significant odds ratio of 1.49 and 1.31 for new injury and pain in the MCRP phase (p < 0.05).
This evidence supports the hypothesis that exposure time within the MCRP will change a female athlete's risk for sustaining an orthopedic or musculoskeletal injury, potentially implicating relaxin as a causative agent.