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The “Knee”’d to Know about Two Decades Worth of ACL Tears in Children and Teens :

February 24, 2017

Likely everyone in practice has encountered a child or teen with a possible tear of their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). How common are they and has there been an increase or decrease in their incidence over the past 20 years?

Likely everyone in practice has encountered a child or teen with a possible tear of their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). How common are they and has there been an increase or decrease in their incidence over the past 20 years? Beck et al. (10.1542/peds.2016-1877) opted to look at 20 years of national insurance billing data for children and teens ranging from 6 to 18 years who had a diagnosis of an ACL tear and/or reconstruction of their knee as a result. The results are quite interesting especially the trend data showing an increase of 2.3 % per year in ACL tears per year with peak age 16 for females and 17 for males. 

Why the trend increases and what are the situations by which those tears may have occurred when looked at by age and sex make for an effusive read that should have everyone who cares for children who are active in athletics jointly turning to this study to learn more. You won’t find a larger collection of ACL tears described elsewhere—so hopefully the findings in this study will help us better identify at-risk factors for patients so ACL injuries can be reduced when the next 20 year trend article is published. 

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