Risk Factors for Knee Injuries in Adolescents and Teenagers

The knee is one of most commonly injured areas among our Boulder County student athletes.  Injuries range from the traumatic (ligament tears) to overuse (tendonitis) across a variety of indoor and outdoor sports.  Prior research has shown overuse injuries to be the most common knee injury affecting our student athletes but data regarding the risk factors for these two types of injuries has been limited.  

Recently a large study was conducted to document sports participation, injuries, and pain levels of over 1300 8-15 year old children (Junge et al. Med Sci Sp Ex. 2016).  The authors documented the frequency, severity, and type of knee injuries within this group in order to determine the risk factors associated with these injuries.  The authors reported 952 knee injuries (85% overuse) were sustained by the athletes in the study.  Participation in gymnastics was the greatest risk factor for traumatic knee injury.  

Within the overuse injury category female sex, prior knee injury, and a higher frequency of practices and games per week were associated with a higher risk of injury.  The majority of these overuse conditions were self limiting in nature and are successfully managed with conservative care including Physical Therapy.  To learn more on now to reduce your child's risk of knee injury contact your local Physical Therapist.