Orthopedic surgeons of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pa, recently presented medical findings which suggest knee injuries in children with tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus have exhibited a striking increase over the past 12 years. 

J. Todd Lawrence, MD, PhD, orthopedic surgeon at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, led the study and says; “Our study confirmed our hypothesis that, at least at our academic pediatric hospital, knee injuries are an ever-growing problem for children and adolescents involved in sports.”

The authors of the study reviewed records for all patients younger than aged 18 years with ACL and meniscus tears treated at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from January 1999 to January 2011, comparing their findings to patients who had sustained tibial spine fractures during that same time period. The team identified 155 tibial spine fractures compared to 914 ACL tears and 996 meniscus tears. The researchers’ findings also suggest that ACL tears have increased by more than 11 per year, in contrast to an increase of only 1 per year in tibial spine fractures.

Lawrence points out that tibial spine fractures were conventionally thought of as the pediatric equivalent of an ACL tears, yet he says, “…This continued rise in ACL tears in children suggests that the injury patterns are changing and that the true incidence of these injuries is increasing.”

Ted Ganley, MD, director of the Sports Medicine and Performance Center at Children’s Hospital, co-authored the study and emphasizes his hopes that the study will highlight the importance of ongoing research efforts to identify pediatric and adolescent athletes who may be at risk for ACL and meniscus injuries. Ganley also hopes the research will encourage coaches, parents, and athletes to implement injury prevention programs during their workouts.

Source: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia