An intriguing explanation for the disproportionately high rate of anterior cruciate ligament injury in female athletes is that the structural properties of the anterior cruciate ligament are affected by the menstrual hormones. Whether this actually occurs, however, is the subject of ongoing debate.Hypotheses
(1) Anterior cruciate ligament laxity is different in the follicular, ovulatory, and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle, and (2) exercise exacerbates the difference in anterior cruciate ligament laxity in the 3 phases.Methods
Over the course of 10 weeks, repeated knee laxity measurements were taken on 27 high-level female athletes, before and after exercise. Point in the menstrual cycle was determined with charts of waking temperature and menstruation. The independent effects of menstrual phase and exercise were evaluated using generalized estimating equations.Results
Data from 18 participants were included in the final analysis. There were no significant differences in anterior cruciate ligament laxity in any of the 3 menstrual phases, before or after exercise.Conclusions
Anterior cruciate ligament laxity is not significantly different during the follicular, ovulatory, and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle, and bicycling exercise does not exacerbate or create any differences in anterior cruciate ligament laxity.