n South African Journal of Sports Medicine - Incidence of non-traumatic anterior knee pain among 11 - 17-year-olds : original research article

Volume 19, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1015-5163
  • E-ISSN: 2078-516X



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.

Questionnaires ( = 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%.
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.
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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