Sexual dimorphism of the foot and ankle

Lower extremity musculoskeletal injuries are extremely common. Sports-related sex differences, in addition to osteoporosis issues, have raised the level of social awareness that women’s health care issues may be different than those of their male counterparts. Traditional research investigation for the foot and ankle is focused on shoe style differences and the effect that these shoes have had on foot pain and injury (eg, bunion, lesser toe malalignment). In addition to the extrinsic factor of footwear, intrinsic factors, such as foot structure, ligamentous laxity, muscle strength, and proprioception, predispose individuals to injury. This article reviews the literature to examine the intrinsic and extrinsic differences between men and women in relationship to the foot and ankle and explores, where available, the influence that these factors have on injury.

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