Knee injuries common cause of missed time from sports

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent
Steven Cuff, MD

Q:My child is involved in multiple sports throughout the year. I know injury is a possibility, but how do I know when a knee injury is more than just a bump or bruise?

A: While parents never want to see their child stuck on the sidelines, knee injuries are a common cause of missed time from sports in pediatric and adolescent athletes. Knowing how to identify various knee injuries can help athletes get diagnosed, treated and back to playing sooner rather than later. And always consult your child's pediatrician with any concerns about your child's health.

Injuries such as Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper's Knee), Osgood Schlatter Disease (OSD) and Patellofemoral Syndrome (PFS) are caused by overuse - repetitive, sub-maximal loading of tissues and repeated trauma - but may also be influenced by growth-related disorders and biomechanical abnormalities.

Traumatic knee injuries such as Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and meniscus tears, Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) sprains and Patellar (kneecap) dislocations can be caused by either a direct blow or by a non-contact mechanism such as landing awkwardly from a jump or twisting the knee with the foot planted and are likely to be accompanied by significant pain, swelling, loss of motion and difficulty with bearing weight.

Poor strength, flexibility, balance and core control, as well as improper technique and equipment, can predispose young athletes to both acute and overuse injury.

When initially treating any knee injury, remember PRICE (protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation) and seek advice from your primary care physician or a sports medicine specialist.

-Steven Cuff, MD, is a Sports Medicine physician at Nationwide Children's Hospital.