Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Birth Control Health Center

Font Size

Birth Control Pills May Keep Knee Injury-Free

Canadian Study Suggests Birth Control Pills Help Prevent Knee Ligament Tears
WebMD Health News

Nov. 18, 2004 -- Women taking birth control pills have greater knee stability than those not using birth control pills, according to a Canadian study.

Women are four to eight times more likely to injure their knees than men, say the McGill University researchers, who included Paul Martineau, MD, chief resident in the orthopaedic division of McGill University Health Centre.

"Female athletes are expected to suffer over 30,000 serious knee injuries in a given year," write Martineau and colleagues in a recent issue of the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.

Differences in the alignment of the hip and leg, muscle strength, and hormones all play a role in increasing a woman's risk of knee injury.

One of the worst knee injuries -- rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) -- occurs two to eight times more often in female athletes than male athletes, say the researchers.

Though interventional programs have improved muscle strength to help knee stability, little can be done to address differences in the female anatomy that place women at risk of injury.

Since past research has shown that female hormones may affect ligament composition, the synthetic hormones in birth control pills may help make knees steadier, say Martineau and colleagues.

The current study looks at the effects of birth control pills in increasing joint ligament stability. Birth control pills stabilize the normal hormonal fluctuations that occur in the menstrual cycle.

Their findings are based on 78 female McGill athletes who were about 20 years old. Forty-two participants were taking birth control pills; on average, they had taken the pills for about three years.

None of the participants had hormonal imbalances or previous knee injuries.

The researchers examined the women's knees using an arthrometer, a device that gauges loose-jointedness.

Participants taking birth control pills had less loose-jointedness in their knees than those not taking birth control pills.

The researchers call for further studies to find out if greater knee stability seen with birth control pills translates into fewer ACL injuries.

Today on WebMD

Here's what to expect.
man opening condom wrapper
Do you know the right way to use them?
birth control pills
Here's what to do next.
doctor and patient
His and her options.
Concerned teenage girl
hospital gown
Birth Control Pills Weight Gain
Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch
contraceptive pills
Young couple looking at each other, serious
woman reading pregnancy test result