The epidemiology of knee injuries in children and adolescents
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Injuries in childhood and adolescence are frequent and the knee is one of the most common sites of injuries. This study aimed to analyze the epidemiology, gender distribution, age, and circumstances of knee injuries in childhood at a Level I Trauma Center in Austria.
All pediatric and adolescent trauma patients who presented in a 2-year period were recorded. Children managed with knee injuries were selected prospectively. Patients were divided into five age groups: infants (younger than 1 year); pre-school aged children (1–6 years); pre-pubertal school-aged children (7–10 years); early adolescent patients (11–14 years); and late adolescent patients (15–18 years). Five diagnosis-related groups were formed: extraarticular soft tissue injuries, intraarticular soft tissue injuries, patella disorders, fractures, and overload injuries.
The study included 23,832 patients up to the age of 18 years, who presented with 1,199 knee injuries. There was a male predominance (m:f = 58,6%:41.4%). Boys had a lower mean age at presentation (11.9 years) as girls (12.3 years). The most common accident sites were outdoors (34.8%) and sports facilities (32.8%). Leading injury mechanisms were falls on level surfaces (58.1%) and traffic accidents (13.4%). The number of knee injuries and its severity increased with age. Knee injuries did not occur in infants. In general, extraarticular soft-tissue injuries were most common and fractures were rare.
Knee injuries in children and adolescents are rare and extraarticular soft-tissue injury is the most frequent type of knee trauma. The number of knee injuries and its severity increases with age with a male predominance. Sports facilities and traffic injuries are important scenes of knee trauma. Mechanisms and patterns evaluated in this study can serve as the basis for knee-injury prevention efforts in children and adolescents and may be used for necessary precautions.
Level of evidence: IV
KeywordsKnee Injury Epidemiology Child Adolescent Trauma
The authors would like to acknowledge the Austrian Committee for Injury Prevention in Childhood, Safe Kids Austria (Grosse Schuetzen Kleine) for its valuable support.
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