Published Online: October 25, 2011
Published in Print: October 26, 2011, as Sports Injuries

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Sports Injuries

"Knee Injuries in Children and Adolescents: Has There Been an Increase in ACL and Meniscus Tears in Recent Years?"

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Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have discovered an increase of more than 400 percent in the number of children’s knee injuries over the past 12 years.

In a paper presented this month at the American Academy of Pediatrics meeting in Boston, the researchers note that, from 1999 to 2011, anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, tears the hospital saw increase by 11.35 injuries per year and meniscus tears increase by 13.95 injuries per year. Tibial spine fractures, which the researchers say were “once thought to be the pediatric equivalent of an ACL tear,” increased by 1.07 injuries per year. In all, the hospital identified a total of 996 meniscus tears, 914 ACL tears, and 155 tibial spine fractures in patients younger than 18 over that time.

The reports lead researcher, Dr. J. Todd Lawrence, attributes the rise in knee injuries in part to the growing intensity of youth sports and the year-round model that more youth-sports teams are adopting. The researchers also credit the spike in the number of diagnoses over the past decade to advances in technology and heightened medical awareness.

Vol. 31, Issue 09, Page 5

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