In Health on the go. Why talk about gender sports medicine | The Bo Live UniPD


In Health on the go.  Why talk about gender sports medicine |  The Bo Live UniPD
Written by aquitodovale

There gender sports medicine is a branch of sports medicine that takes into account physical and biological differences between men and women and how some peculiar aspects that distinguish each of the two biological sexes, such as the metabolic and biomechanical characteristicsare relevant both for the protection of the health of athletes and female athletes, both for the improvement of them sports performance.

In fact, there are some injuries associated with sporting activity that mainly affect female athletes compared to athletes (such as, for example, the head trauma); in addition, women who play competitive sports run a higher risk of developing a disorder called Relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S)formerly known as the “female athlete triad”.

“In recent years, the focus on diversity of male and female physicists Is increasing also due to the growing interest on the part of fans and of sponsor towards women’s sports and the competitive results achieved by women ”, she reflects Francesca Conte, sports doctor of the first women’s team of AC Milan. “Precisely because of this increased commercial interest and a higher investment in women’s sports both of squad, primarily football, either individualtoday numerous are carried out searches aimed at investigating and preventing typically female pathologies and injuries associated with sporting activity “.

Among the accidents that affect women more frequently than men, Conte first cites the damage to anterior cruciate ligament of the knee, typical of team and contact sports such as basketball, football and handball. “This type of injury prevents an athlete from practicing sports for a period that usually ranges from 6 to 9 months and it is between three and four times more frequent in women than in men mainly for type reasons biomechanical”, Explains the doctor. “The hip bone of women, in fact, has one different conformation compared to that of men; therefore, between the pelvis and the femur a angle which brings the knee into a position particularly vulnerable to this type of accident. Another typically female injury involving the knee is the patellofemoral syndromewhich affects the joint between the femur and the patella “.

The interview with Dr. Francesca Conte. Editing by Barbara Paknazar

“Some studies conducted in the last period have also shown that too the risk of head trauma is greater for female athletes, especially among footballers and rugby players, both during matches and, above all, in workouts”, Continues Conte. “Such injuries are just not more frequent among women, but they cause in the latter too more disabling symptoms. Of course, these estimates could also reflect less attention on the part of men to this type of trauma, or a greater tendency of women to report such events to your doctor. But the purely female incidence of this injury is probably due to one different amount of muscle mass in the neck of men and women, who generally have a smaller physique than that of men. In recent times, these differences are more and more object of study in medical research target to prevent And to limit this type of injury “.

As Dr. Conte points out, it must also be considered that, at least until a few years ago, i training and athletic preparation courses aimed at female athletes who practiced one team sports they were not comparable, from the point of view of quality, to those organized for male athletes, especially at the pre-competitive level. The reason is mainly type economic: they were in fact invested in women’s team sports much less funds. In recent times, fortunately, this situation is changing: today the need to train female athletes in the correct way is much more felt. from an early agesupporting them with qualified and trained technicians.

For athletes and female athletes, one is particularly important prevention targeted and gender-specific during training and medical visits despite, as Conte explains, the law in our country does not provide for diversified health checks according to biological sex.

“In Italy, the medical procedure to ascertain fitness for competitive sports is governed by a decree in force since 1982 that does not refer to gender differences”, specifies Conte. “The medical-sports examination for competitive activity, therefore, it happens the same way for men and womenwith the difference that for the latter there is also a gynecological check-up to verify, for example, the regularity of the menstrual cycle or ascertain the health of the athlete in the post-pregnancy phase.

Although the law does not provide for diversified medical examinations for athletes and athletes, in women’s sports teams some are carried out as usual specific controls to avoid the onset of a typically female disorder that was once known as “Triad of the female athlete“And that in 2018 it was renamed by the International Olympic Committee as Relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S)because it can occur, albeit more rarely, also in men.

RED-S is a condition characterized by bone metabolism problems that they can cause osteoporosis And osteopeniamenstrual irregularities such as, for example,amenorrhea (the absence of menstruation, ed) And food disorders caused by ainsufficient power supply for energy consumption. This syndrome is typical of sports in which the athlete has to keep the weight stablesuch as gymnastics, dance or combat sports, where you compete by weight category. It is not certain that this condition is the consequence of an eating disorder. Sometimes, in fact, it manifests itself in athletes who they eat too little compared to what they burn during workouts. This happens especially in the teenagersall of which cross a peak of growth and, despite having a seemingly balanced diet for their age, what they eat fails to satisfy their energy need because they have to face much more intense physical exertion than their peers.

The RED-S can have very serious consequences for healthespecially for that of womenbecause it makes their bones much more vulnerable to risk osteoporosis and injuries associated with stress fractures. Adequate nutrition it is also a priority for the health of male athletes, but it must be monitored with even greater attention in female athletes, especially during adolescence “.

On the other hand, it is not customary to make gender distinctions in the definition of therapeutic treatments and gods rehabilitation courses. As Conte points out, “the literature on the subject is still based almost entirely on clinical data collected by male professionals. Generally, therefore, injury recovery programs they are not standardized by gender; however, they are still structured according to the type of sport practiced and individualized on the basis of needs of the single patient. Indeed, we must not forget that each person is unique and that even athletes of the same sex can experience different recovery times and methods for the same type of injury “.

Finally, Dr. Conte is keen to emphasize that today the attention to the physical and biological differences that characterize the two sexes has not only increased among specialists in sports medicine, but also among athletes themselveswhich in recent times have become much more aware of the problem of gender discrimination in sport.

“Women who practice competitive sport make the same effort as male athletes, if not more, without receiving the same salary or the same visibility”, Conte reflects. “Fortunately, the situation is slowly changing: the athletes have become much more aware and they demandrightly the same type of medical, technical and sports support that their male colleagues receive ”.


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