I've recently been reading up on knee injuries in women. Several studies show that women who participate in jumping and pivoting sports are more likely to rupture a knee-stabilizing ligament than men (the ACL or anteriior cruciate ligament). The range of "more likely" ranges from 4-11x, depending on the study and article/resource you read.
Some suggest this is partially related to a woman's wider pelvis. Others theorize that hormone differences and the fluctuation caused by menstruation make the ACL looser in females than males, thus more prone to injury. A common theory is that women do not train to properly strengthen the legs, particularly the muscles around the knee. Research at the Cincinnati Sports Medicine Research and Education Foundation noted muscle imbalance between quads and hamstrings as a significant factor.
An interesting article on Bodybuilding.com (http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/peak43.htm
) comments that the ACL and PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) cross eachother when the "tibia is rotated in an internal direction (counterclockwise for the right knee, clockwise for the left knee)"...hmmm...Sanchin stance anyone?
This same article shows the training used in the Cincinnati research, which had some significant improvements in reducing injury rates among female athletes. It also suggests some additional exercises to strengthing the muscles around the knee, particularly the hamstrings.
I, personally, also think the hip flexors need to be strengthened and stretched properly to help assist in balancing the muscles around the knee.
So, I would encourage folks to check out the article above and comment on the exercises provided. I would also like to hear what other people do to strengthen the leg muscles, hip flexors, and knee joints.
This is a particularly important topic for women, because of our anatomy, but anyone can benefit from strengthening these muscles. So much of what we do comes from our core, right?