AFLW Researching Potential Link Between Menstrual Cycles And ACL Injuries

AFLW Researching Potential Link Between Menstrual Cycles And Injury

Melbourne Football Club’s Ainslie Kemp is now the eighth AFLW player to suffer an ACL injury – the tear or sprain of a major ligament in the knee – since the start of pre-season in November, with four players sidelined after being felled last season.  The Herald Sun reports that the league is working with […]

by | Aug 27, 2020

Melbourne Football Club’s Ainslie Kemp is now the eighth AFLW player to suffer an ACL injury – the tear or sprain of a major ligament in the knee – since the start of pre-season in November, with four players sidelined after being felled last season. 

The Herald Sun reports that the league is working with AFL Players’ Association and La Trobe University to look into a potential link between periods and these prevalent injuries.

“We are keen to explore this further,” AFL women’s football chief Nicole Livingstone says.

Kay Crossley – a La Trobe University professor, physiotherapist and researcher specialising in knee injuries – says they’re hoping to do more research on the issue soon. 

“There is a suspicion that female hormones may be related to injury and possibly to how women respond to training, but a lot more work needs to be done in that space,” she told the Herald Sun. 

RELATED: Why Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle Can Change Your Life

acl injury link to menstrual cycle

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It’s an area of increasing focus, with research on the link doubling over the past decade. A 2017 systematic review and meta analysis published in Orthopaedic Journal Of Sports Medicine found an association between hormonal fluctuations and ACL injuries. Research published in the Journal of Athletic Training found women have a higher risk of ACL tear during the pre-ovulatory phase of their menstrual cycle than the post-ovulatory phase of their cycle. 

Some studies have also suggested oral contraceptives can offer a 20 per cent reduction in risk.

Chelsea Women recently became the first football club in the world to tailor training programs to their players’ menstrual cycles in a ground breaking initiative to enhance performance and cut down on injuries.

“It is fair to say, I am a female coach in an industry where women have always been treated like small men,” manager Emma Hayes told The Telegraph. “The application of anything from rehab to strength and conditioning to tactical all come from the basis of what men do.”

Hayes explained that given we go through “something very different to men on a monthly basis” it’s important to have a better understanding of its flow on effects. The idea came about after the team lost the 2016 FA Cup final against Arsenal.

RELATEDThe Best Type Of Exercise For Every Stage Of Your Menstrual Cycle

chelsea womens

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“We had a lot of players in and around their period for that game,” she said. “I remember watching players close the ball down and thinking everything was reactive and second-best. That was the starting point.”

The team – which includes Australian soccer star Sam Kerr – uses the FitWoman app, created by physiologist and international cross-country runner Dr Georgie Bruinvels, to record and monitor their cycle and related symptoms. This information is used to adjust nutrition and training depending around the phases of their cycle, particularly in regards to injury.

“The menstrual cycle is an inflammatory process and excess inflammation can result in an injury,” Bruinvels says. “It’s not solely down to high levels of oestrogen, but tracking the cycle is also very important in terms of bone-injury risk.”

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8 Of The Best Exercise Shorts That Will Power You Through A Summer Of Movement

It’s official: Shorts Season is officially here. While lockdown has seen many of us realise that activewear is less something to be worn for a workout and more a uniform we choose to do any and all daily activities in, when the warmer temperatures roll around, that favourite pair of sweatpants and leggings sometimes don’t cut it. Sure, they might be a staple in any wardrobe, but the Aussie sun doesn’t listen to reason, no matter how comfortable or cute it might be. And when it comes to summer, working out in leggings can feel like being trapped in a sauna, the sweat pooling at your ankles and around the waistband – as well as those other areas we won’t mention here. 

But as we transition from leggings to shorts, it becomes clear pretty quickly that not all shorts are created equal, and certainly not all shorts are fit for a workout. Take it from us at Women’s Health HQ, we’ve been there, tried it and lived to see the consequences. From the shorts that look cute but ride up to show your undies on the run, to those that feel like being strapped into a harness that’s digging into your hip bones. Then there are the fabrics that can cause chafing – a big no – and those that basically shine a spotlight on any area you might be sweating. 

Thankfully, a number of brands are here to cater to your exercise needs with innovative materials, fabrics and sustainable options to see you through a summer of movement. Regardless of your workout preferences or daily activity, we’ve selected the best shorts that will ensure you feel good in your body, shorts that get you excited to embrace the day and attack it with energy, that make you want to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, whether it be walking, running, or socialising in the park. Here are our pick of the best bike shorts below. 


Uptown Biker, $240

What says summer more than a pop of orange and the sleek shape of these Nagnata biker shorts? With its mid-length and horizontal raised rib side detail, these are shorts you can wear both for a workout and out to meet the girls. Made in Australia with a technical knit fabrication, the double-layer jacquard provides gentle sculpting qualities for the body, making it an excellent choice for light to moderate fitness activities like yoga, pilates or barre. 

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New Balance

Q Speed Fuel Short, $70

We love the colour of these shorts from New Balance which are cut with a sleek, speedy look that also helps to elongate the legs. Featuring NB DRY moisture wicking fabric, these are the shorts you want for high intensity exercise or long runs, keeping you comfortable and dry. There’s also an interior brief for added comfort and a stash pocket to keep your essentials. 

All Access

Ultra High Rise Zip Front Biker Short, $78

Yes, the colour is amazing but the fit is equally sensational on these All Access shorts. For those who love a high-rise fit and wide waistband that holds you in at the waist, look no further. The sleek, shiny look offers mid-compression and the fabric is moisture-wicking, so you can stay comfortable even during your sweatiest workouts. 


Nike x Naomi Osaka Utility Short, $90

Few things are worse than heading out the door for a run and realising your shorts offer no pockets for those essentials you need. You’re left to hold your iPhone, keys, and anything else you might need in your sweaty palm. Thankfully, Naomi Osaka knows what we need when it comes to exercise shorts and these utility shorts from her collaboration with Nike offer all that and more with a relaxed fit and elastic waistband. 


Session short Tights, $72

When it comes to bike shorts, you want to feel supported and held in but you also want to be able to breathe. These Tracksmith session short tights are exceptional in offering support while still ensuring comfort remains a priority. Forget about chafing, these shorts won’t ride up and down and the fabric offers more coverage and support against the body. 

Outdoor Voices

Relay 3” Short, $48

Who said summer shorts have to be boring? Outdoor Voices brings fashion-forward style and playfulness to their collections with fun prints and exciting colours. We love the relay 3” shorts for their ultralight, quick-drying fabric that also happens to be made from recycled polyester. But more importantly, we love the print and Poppy Swirl is as good as it gets. There’s even a hidden pocket for your valuables, too. 


Align High-Rise Short 6”, $69

If you’re familiar with the buttery-soft feel of Lululemon’s tights, you’ll want to get your hands on a pair of their shorts, too. Made with the same Nulu fabric that their tights are known for, these shorts feel weightless and super soft. They might be our go-to staple for any workout, but the feel is so second-skin that it’s hard to not wear them for every other activity, too. 

Spiritual Gangster

Seamless Biker Short, $112

These biker shorts from Spiritual Gangster move with you, thanks to a three-tiered compressive waistband that offers a flattering high waist that hugs you in all the right places, without proving constrictive. They offer medium compression but are built for all day comfort, and the colour is a true summer staple because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love tie-dye?