Your risk of some injuries to bones, tendons and joints may be higher depending on your sex.

orthopedic injuries and menOrthopedic injuries are those that affect the musculoskeletal system of the body. This includes bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles. These injuries can happen to anyone at any age, but some orthopedic injuries tend to be more common in men than women. There are also orthopedic injuries that are more likely to happen in women than men.

Here are a few orthopedic injuries common in men:

  • Achilles tendon injuries – Men are three times more likely to experience an Achilles tendon injury than women. This tendon, which is the largest in the body, connects the calf muscle to the ankle bone, allowing the foot to flex. Injuries to this tendon are often a result of sudden stress, such as when a person jumps or moves quickly while playing sports. Injury is most common in sports like football, basketball and track.
  • Hand and wrist fractures – Men are more likely to break a bone in their hand, wrist, elbow and arm. This occurs because they are more likely to participate in activities that may result in these types of fractures. Some of the most common causes of hand and wrist fractures are contact sports like football and basketball, as well as sports such as mountain biking, skateboarding and skiing. Another cause of these injuries is doing projects around the house or having a job that is physical in nature. Fractures can occur from falling off a ladder or using some types of tools.
  • Meniscus injuries – The cartilage that stabilizes your knee and acts as a shock absorber is called the meniscus. This cartilage is prone to injury, especially in people who engage in sports and activities with a lot of pivoting or squatting. It can also occur due to overuse or degeneration as a result of aging. Men are more likely to experience meniscal tears than women, which are often accompanied by swelling, pain, reduced range of motion and instability in the knee. You may feel a popping sensation when the meniscus tears.
  • Rotator cuff injuries – One of the most common orthopedic injuries in men affects the tendons that attach the muscles in the shoulder blade to the upper arm so the arm can rotate in its socket. These injuries may occur due to a sudden or unexpected movement or accident and can also happen from overuse. Some of the most common injuries affecting this area include rotator cuff tendonitis and shoulder bursitis, which result in inflammation. A tear in one of the tendons of the rotator cuff may also occur.

It is not always possible to prevent orthopedic injuries since they often occur due to a sudden motion, movement or accident. The one thing you can do to make it less likely you'll experience one of these injuries is to do exercises that improve muscle strength, bone health and flexibility. Warm up and cool down before and after activities. And take necessary precautions, when possible, to prevent injuries from falls, sports and trauma.

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Date Last Reviewed: April 18, 2024

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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