Monday, February 18, 2008

Special Risks: ACL Injuries In Kids

The New York Times online has a story about rising diagnoses of ACL injuries in kids. Doctors didn't used to think kids could get torn ACLs, but they can--the injuries can be seen in MRI scans. The increase in diagnosis may also be from kids participating in more competitive sports year round.

You can't just drill into the knee of kids to reconstruct an ACL, as you do with adults, because the kids' knees are still growing, and drilling into the growth plate damages the knee, as the article describes in one disturbing anecdote. There are some new surgical solutions for kids that don't damage the growth plate, but the long-term results are unknown.

As for adult ACL injury, the article says:
It is “the most common and most dreaded injury in professional sports,” Dr. Kocher said. The well-established operation to repair it often results in a full return to function. And doctors often recommend that adults have the operation because without the ligament the knee is not stable.


Hack Shaft said...

My ACL injury is one reason my own daughter was very hesitant to begin sparring.

I reassured her that I simply had a very clumsy moment, and it was really not likely that the weight and strength of blows involved in her level of sparring would ever do any harm.

It still took getting out there on her own to understand the reality of sparring. She is really progressing quite well now!

BobSpar said...

Yeah, I certainly wouldn't want a kid to not do vigorous exercise out of ACL fear. But if they wreck an ACL, it looks like there are special considerations for treating them.