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Pediatric ACL Injuries Continue to Rise Steadily

A study in the March 2017 issue of Pediatrics, “ACL Tears in School-Aged Children and Adolescents Over 20 Years,” (published online Feb. 22) is the first study to show the incidence of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears in pediatric patients (ages 6-18 years) has significantly and steadily increased by about 2.3 percent annually over the past 20 years. Females had significantly higher incidence rates except in 17- to 18-yearolds. ACL injuries in girls peaked at age 16, with 392 ACL tears per 100,000 persons per year. ACL injuries in boys peaked at age 17, with 422 ACL tears per 100,000 persons each year. The authors suggest that the increases may be a result of 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 MRI in diagnosis. Peak timing of injury occurs during high school years and authors offer that this information can help form ACL prevention programs that target the most at-risk patients during the most beneficial time frames. 


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.

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