About this Research Topic
Female sex hormones have been suspected to negatively affect the structure and mechanical properties of the musculoskeletal system as well as postural control. It has been speculated that this would affect the injury risk in women, making them more prone to injury particularly during certain phases of the menstrual cycle or during pregnancy. In contrast, the artificial manipulation of hormone levels via oral contraceptive intake and hormone replacement therapies during menopause have been said to protect from injuries.
While fluctuations in women’s injury risk have been linked to fluctuations in hormone levels, direct correlations between hormone levels and measures for musculoskeletal properties or injury risk have not been detected. It may thus be too simplistic to assume a direct relationship. Numerous studies have tried to link a specific phase of the menstrual cycle (associated with specific levels of estrogen and progesterone) to ACL injury risk. However, results from these studies differ widely and reviews also vary in their conclusions.
In addition, it has been frequently claimed that tendons and ligaments become more compliant during pregnancy, increasing the risk for connective tissue injuries during exercise. Although this information can be found in many textbooks and exercise guidelines for pregnant women, there is no scientific evidence for this.
Our knowledge on the effect of sex hormones on the adaptation of the musculoskeletal system and injury risk in women is limited, despite that hormonal fluctuations are constantly occurring in women’s lives (e.g. menstrual cycle, pregnancy, hormonal contraception and menopause). Indeed, women are often excluded from population samples in studies as hormonal fluctuations might confound the results.
This Research Topic therefore welcomes submissions from authors to fill this gap and to submit review articles, meta-analyses and original research articles on the effects of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, hormonal contraception and menopause on musculoskeletal adaptation and injury risk, while also addressing the mechanisms behind those changes. Increasing our understanding of hormonal influences on musculoskeletal tissues may lead to a more accurate evaluation of injury risk. We may be able to identify those most at risk and take preventive measures as a result.
Keywords: menopause, oral contraceptives, pregnancy, menstrual cycle, musculoskeletal adaptation, injury riskrisk