Pediatric ACL Injuries Continue to Rise, Especially Among Girls

Annual increase in the incidence of ACL tears of 2.3 percent over 20 years

girls soccer

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 22, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears has steadily increased among 6- to 18-year-olds in the United States, rising more than 2 percent a year over the last two decades, according to a report published online Feb. 22 in Pediatrics.

Nicholas Beck, M.D., a resident in the department of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues evaluated insurance billing data for patients aged 6 to 18 from 1994 to 2013.

Overall, the researchers noted an annual increase in the incidence of ACL tears of 2.3 percent. Girls of all ages, except 17- to 18-year-olds, experienced a significant increase in the incidence of ACL tears. In boys, however, only those aged 15 to 16 showed such an increase.

"The increase in ACL surgical consultations in young patients has been attributed to multiple factors, including increased participation in high-demand year-round sports at an earlier age, better clinician awareness and recognition of the signs and symptoms of ACL tears, increased female athletic participation, and the expanded role of magnetic resonance imaging in the diagnosis of intra-articular knee pathology," the authors write.

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