Knee injuries in children are on the rise, says a new study presented to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia reported the findings after reviewing case history for patients from January 1999 until January 2011. The study aims to shed light on those who may be at increased risk of developing tears in the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) which is located in the knee. Athletic children are at greater risk of damaging the ligament and injuring the knee due to improper techniques during athletic performance.
J.Todd Lawrence, M.D. PH.D and orthapaedic surgeon at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia released a statement regarding his findings with the study. “Many people in sports medicine have assumed that these knee injuries have increased in recent years among children. Our study confirmed our hypothesis that, at least at our large academic pediatric hospital, knee injuries are an ever-growing problem for children and adolescents involved in sports."
The study showed an increase in Tibia sinal fractures of 1% a year compared to an 11% increase in ACL tears. Meniscus tears (the area that provides support and cushion to the knee) increased by an approximate 14%. The increases show a great need for education and safe practices in children’s sports. Continuing, Dr. Lawrence stated, “Since tibial spine fractures were once thought to be the pediatric equivalent of an ACL tear, this continued rise in ACL tears in children suggests that injury patterns are changing and that the true incidence of these injuries is increasing."
One of the study’s co-authors, Dr. Ted Ganley, stated he hopes the study will cause parents, coaches and children and teen athletes to recognize the importance and need for safe training practices. Dr. Ganley serves as the director for the Sports Medicine and Performance Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where they have developed a number of videos to help increase awareness and athletic training safety for kids. You may see the videos here: Ready, Set, Prevent Videos
The Center has also released a PDF file that illustrates safe training exercises and techniques. You may see that file here: Ready Set Prevent Injury Prevention and Performance Enhancement Program