Gender Differences with Tendon Adaptation

Title: Understanding Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy: Gender Differences in Tendon Adaptation


In today’s episode, we delve into the intriguing world of gender differences in tendon adaptation. Welcome to the podcast dedicated to helping you conquer proximal hamstring tendinopathy. We aim to equip you with knowledge about this condition, debunk common misconceptions, and guide you towards evidence-based treatments. I’m your host, Brody Sharp, an online physiotherapist, recreational athlete, creator of the Run Smarter series, and a persistent proximal hamstring tendinopathy warrior. Whether you’re an athlete or not, this podcast is here to educate and empower you on the path to overcoming this challenging ailment. Let’s dive into today’s lesson.

Exploring the YouTube Channel

Before we dive into today’s topic, I want to share some exciting news about the launch of my YouTube channel. Over the past six weeks, I’ve been working tirelessly on this project, and it’s finally ready for you to explore. While I’ve mainly used YouTube as a search engine in the past, I’ve recently started subscribing to various channels. It has opened my eyes to a new world of content creation and interaction.

If you’re interested in learning more about running technique, injury prevention, and rehabilitation exercises, give my YouTube channel a visit. It’s an excellent complement to this podcast, offering a visual component to enhance your understanding. You can expect a range of informative videos on running-related topics, all aimed at helping you become a better, injury-free runner.

Gender Differences in Tendon Adaptation

Now, let’s delve into the fascinating topic of gender differences in tendon adaptation. This discussion originates from a recent research paper titled “The Adaptability of Tendon to Loading Differs in Men and Women” by Peter Magnuson. The paper explores how men and women may respond differently to tendon injuries, rehabilitation, and heavy load training. It’s a captivating area of study, and the findings shed light on some essential considerations.

1. Tendon Size and Physical Training

The research begins by examining how long-term exercise affects tendon hypertrophy, which is essentially the increase in tendon size due to training. In men, habitual training results in larger tendons, which can withstand greater stress and reduce the risk of injury. However, this adaptation was not observed in women. The study suggests that gender-specific tendon adaptation might play a crucial role in this difference.

2. Tendon Collagen Synthesis and Mechanical Loading

Tendon collagen synthesis is the process by which tendons adapt and become stronger in response to mechanical loading, like exercise. The research discovered that men have an elevated rate of tendon collagen synthesis compared to women. Interestingly, women tend to exhibit a higher synthesis rate when estradiol (a hormone linked to estrogen) levels are low, typically during the early follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. This suggests that hormonal fluctuations can impact tendon adaptation in women.

3. Mechanical Properties of Human Tendons

To explore whether gender-specific differences in collagen synthesis and hypertrophy affect tissue strength, the study conducted mechanical testing on isolated collagen fascicles. The results showed that collagen fascicles from men had a greater ultimate strength compared to those from women. This implies that men tend to have stronger tendon tissue, potentially making them less susceptible to injury.

Key Takeaways

After reviewing the research, here are some key takeaways to consider:

  1. Individual Differences: Recognize that individual differences, including gender, hormonal variations, and medication use (like oral contraceptives), can significantly impact tendon adaptation. These differences should be considered when comparing your progress or seeking advice from others.
  2. Gradual Progression: If you are prone to soft tissue or tendon injuries, consider a more conservative approach to strength training or running volume progression. Gradually increase loads and be attentive to your body’s response.
  3. No Need for Alarm: While the study highlights differences in tendon adaptation, it doesn’t suggest that one gender is more prone to injury than the other. With sensible training and early intervention for any signs of soreness or discomfort, you can maintain a safe and injury-free approach to physical activity.


Understanding gender differences in tendon adaptation is crucial for tailoring training and rehabilitation programs effectively. By acknowledging these variations and adjusting your approach accordingly, you can better navigate the path to recovery and injury prevention. Remember, knowledge is power, and with the right information, you can overcome proximal hamstring tendinopathy and excel in your athletic pursuits.