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n South African Journal of Sports Medicine - Incidence of non-traumatic anterior knee pain among 11 - 17-year-olds : original research article
Objective. To investigate the incidence of anterior knee pain, as well as the effect of sport participation, age of onset and gender differences on the condition.
Design. Questionnaires (N = 2 414), each containing 20 questions, were distributed to 10 - 17-year-old learners at 8 primary and 5 high schools in the Empangeni / Richards Bay area. The return rate was 76%.
Results. Twenty-seven per cent of the respondents reported anterior knee pain. Of these, 21% experienced pain in the left knee only, 34% in the right knee only, and 45% in both knees. Furthermore, 31% had visited a medical doctor because of the knee pain, 82% reported that the pain interfered with their sport participation, and 37% had visited a physiotherapist or biokineticist, of whom 43% reported that the intervention they received was successful. Previously 37% of the subjects had taken medication for the condition. The highest incidence of anterior knee pain was reported for 12 and 13-year-old girls and 14 - 15-year-old boys, which correlates with the period of the adolescent growth spurt. The incidence of anterior knee pain was higher amongst those who participated in sport more than 3 days per week and lower amongst those who participated less than 3 days per week or not at all.
Conclusions. Anterior knee pain is common amongst children between the ages of 10 and 17 years, with a peak during adolescence, especially among girls. Participation in physical activity increases the likelihood of anterior knee pain.
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