The number of ACL tears among adolescents and school-aged children has increased during the past 20 years, according to results recently presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition, with peak rates of tears seen in high school students.
Investigators of the study reviewed insurance company billing data from 1994 to 2003. Among patients aged 6 years to 18 years, investigators discovered the overall incidence of ACL tears increased by 2.3% each year. Researchers noted male patients had an overall increase of ACL tears of 2.2% per year and female patients had an increase of 2.5% per year. According to a press release about the study from the American Academy of Pediatrics, male patients experienced peak rates of ACL tears at 17 years of age and female patients experienced peak rates at 16 years of age.
During the 20-year study period, investigators found an increased incidence of ACL tears across all age groups for female patients. However, a significant increase in the number of ACL tears in male patients was only seen in those aged 15 years to 16 years. Researchers also found the rate of surgically reconstructed ACL tears increased by 3% per year, according to the press release.
“We hope these findings will help foster discussion both about how changes in pediatric athletic participation over the past 20 years may be impacting injury rates and how we can best develop youth injury prevention programs and athletic participation guidelines,” study co-author Marc A. Tompkins, MD, stated in the press release. “The data would suggest, for example, that all female athletes and males in the 15-[year] to 16-year ages would be good candidates for injury prevention programs.” – by Casey Tingle
Beck NA, et al. Paper #29890. Presented at: American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition; Oct. 24-27, 2015; Washington, D.C.
Disclosure: Tompkins reports no relevant financial disclosures.