Br J Sports Med 42:2-10 doi:10.1136/bjsm.2007.035360
  • Review

Epidemiology of knee injuries among adolescents: a systematic review

  1. Q A Louw1,
  2. J Manilall1,
  3. K A Grimmer2
  1. 1
    Stellenbosch University, Tyerberg, South Africa
  2. 2
    University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
  1. Professor Q A Louw, Stellenbosch University, PO Box 19063, Tyerberg 7505, South Africa; qalouw{at}
  • Accepted 29 May 2007
  • Published Online First 5 June 2007


Background: Youth sports injury is a public health concern, as it has detrimental effects on the health and well-being of young athletes. The knee joint is reported to be the most common joint injured by young sports participants. The potential loss of ability to participate in regular physical activity after injury is alarming, because physical inactivity is one of the major risk factors associated with systemic disease, disability and/or death worldwide.

Study design: This paper presents a systematic review of the epidemiological research reporting on the prevalence of knee injuries among active adolescents to ascertain the global scope of the problem.

Results: The 19 eligible studies for this review were mostly (90%) conducted in developed countries. Global adolescent knee injury prevalence ranges between 10% and 25%, with more recent studies reporting higher percentages. The average methodological appraisal score of the 19 studies was 56%. Females and adolescents appear to be more at an increased risk of sustaining a knee injury compared with males.

Conclusions: Developing standard injury definitions as well as descriptions of injury causes must be taken into consideration in future injury surveillance research in order to appropriately inform effective knee injury preventative programmes for youth.


  • Competing interests: None declared.