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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The effect of estradiol and progesterone on knee and ankle joint laxity.

BACKGROUND: Female athletes suffer a higher incidence of anterior cruciate ligament injuries compared to their male counterparts, and they appear to be at increased risk for these injuries when they have increased anterior-posterior knee laxity and at specific phases of the menstrual cycle. Although the mechanism by which these factors combine to increase injury risk is unclear, studies suggest that cyclic variations in joint laxity produced by hormone fluctuation during the menstrual cycle predispose an athlete to increased risk of ligamentous injury. Little is known about whether joint laxity varies cyclically during the menstrual cycle and if so, whether it is modulated by cyclic variations of estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4). HYPOTHESIS: Increased serum estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4) levels are associated with increased ankle and knee joint laxity. STUDY DESIGN: Cohort study. Level of evidence, 2. METHODS: Ankle laxity, anterior-posterior knee laxity, and serum concentrations of estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4) were measured during the menstrual cycle in women and at corresponding time intervals in men (controls). Ankle laxity was measured from stress radiographs and included anterior talar translation relative to the tibia and talar tilt relative to the tibia; anterior-posterior knee laxity was measured with the KT-1000 arthrometer. RESULTS: Women had greater knee and ankle laxity values compared to men. There was, however, no change in knee and ankle laxity over the normal menstrual cycle in women and no change over time in men. There was no relationship between estradiol and progesterone fluctuation and ankle and knee joint laxity. CONCLUSIONS: Knee and ankle joint laxities are greater for women compared to men; however, the cyclic estradiol and progesterone fluctuations that occur during the menstrual cycle do not produce cyclic fluctuations of joint laxity. Studies using joint laxity to identify a subject at risk for ligamentous injury need only consider making measurements at a specific point in time, such as during a preseason screening evaluation.[1]


  1. The effect of estradiol and progesterone on knee and ankle joint laxity. Beynnon, B.D., Bernstein, I.M., Belisle, A., Brattbakk, B., Devanny, P., Risinger, R., Durant, D. The American journal of sports medicine. (2005) [Pubmed]
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