Knee injuries can be relatively common among adolescents, especially athletes. Pediatric Views sat down with Martha M. Murray, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Boston Children's, to discuss the evaluation and treatment of these injuries.
What types of knee injuries are most common?
The most common acute knee injuries include anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), meniscal, patella and cartilage injuries. In addition, overuse injuries, such as tendinitis and patellofemoral syndrome, occur frequently.
Who is at increased risk of knee injuries?
For ACL injuries, girls are at greater risk than boys. The good news is that there are simple training programs, such as the Santa Monica PEP or FIFA 11, that can be used to decrease the risk of injury in everyone, but especially in girls.
How can a pediatrician recognize a serious knee injury?
An adolescent with a history of a knee injury and an effusion has a high likelihood of a significant knee problem. A history and physical exam can be diagnostic, and a fracture can be ruled out with an X-ray. Patients with an ACL tear often have heard a "pop", are unable to walk after injury and have early swelling. Patients with a meniscal tear may not notice swelling until the following day. Patients who are too sore to obtain an exam can be reexamined after one to two weeks of RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation). MRI can also be useful for patients suspected of having a soft tissue injury of the knee.
When should a child be referred to Boston Children's Division of Sports Medicine?
We are happy to see patients with any type of knee injury or problem. Patients with a traumatic injury and knee effusion or a diagnosis of ACL, meniscal, patellar or cartilage injury can be referred for surgical evaluation. We offer sports medicine services at our Boston, Waltham, Lexington and Peabody locations and our Sports Medicine Urgent Clinic is available in Waltham and Boston.
More information: childrenshospital.org/sportsmed
Make a referral: 617-355-3501