Sports-related knee injuries in children have increased dramatically over the past decade, researchers say—meaning the massage clients of tomorrow could present with a higher rate of knee-injury history.

Knee injuries in children with tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus have increased dramatically over the past 12 years, say orthopedic surgeons from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who presented their findings this week at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting in Boston.

“Many people in sports medicine have assumed that these knee injuries have increased in recent years among children,” said J. Todd Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D., orthopedic surgeon at the hospital primary investigator of this study, in a hospital press release. “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.”

Lawrence added that people have suggested that greater participation in sports, increased clinician awareness of the signs and symptoms of ACL and meniscus tears, and advances in imaging technology may account for this increase.

Theodore Ganley, M.D., one of the study’s co-authors and the director of the Sports Medicine and Performance Center at Children’s Hospital, noted that he hopes this research will call to light the importance of ongoing research efforts to identify pediatric and adolescent athletes who may be at risk for ACL and meniscus injuries and also encourage coaches, parents and athletes to consider incorporating injury prevention programs into their workouts.

The Center has developed a sports-injury prevention program called Ready, Set, Prevent that is designed to be performed on the field or the court in place of or as part of the traditional warm-up. The free video is available here: http://www.chop.edu/video/sports-medicine-performance/ready-set-prevent/home.html

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