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Football boots are putting women at higher risk of injury according to research

A group of sports scientists have raised questions over the lack of provision of football boots designed specifically for women and how that could be putting women players at an increased risk of injuries.

A huge concern in the elite level of the womens game is around Knee-ligament injuries and the frequency of them.

Despite some progress, the researchers say no large boot manufacturer has yet invested in a design to suit women.

The profile and popularity of women's football in the UK has soared since England won Euro 2022.

However, most products are still predominantly designed for men's football and little attention has been paid to the requirements of the women's game, a paper says.

Writing in the journal Sport Engineering, a group of sports and exercise researchers, doctors and staff involved in the elite women's game - including England player Leah Williamson - point to the need for more kit and technology tailored to women's needs and body shape.

One example mentioned is how football boots fail to account for the fact women's feet, heels and arches are shaped differently.

And wearing boots designed for men is causing blisters and stress fractures in elite female players.

Women also move and run in a different way to men and yet the length of studs on boots are designed around male movement and traction.

This increases the risk of women getting their boot stuck in the surface and an injury being caused, author and sports rehabilitation lecturer Kat Okholm Kryger, from St Mary's University, Twickenham, says.

And women could be playing "on uneven surfaces where men's teams have played the day before".

Many major manufacturers are reportedly developing boots specific to women in time for the World Cup in 2023.

More research is needed on the concussion risk of heading a football, scientists say.

Co-author Spurs sports-and-exercise consultant Dr Craig Rosenbloom says anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee injuries are "at least twice as common in elite female footballers when compared to male footballers", putting "a huge burden" on the players and the clubs.

Most elite male footballers return within seven to eight months of the injury - but for elite female footballers, it is usually at least 10.

"Elite female football squads are usually smaller than male squads, so missing players for longer has a big impact on player availability," Dr Rosenbloom adds.

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