Objectives: The knee joint is the most common site for injury among younger people, the injury often resulting in expensive (surgical) treatment, long-term rehabilitation, and permanent functional impairment and disability.
Methods: We investigated the incidence and risk factors for a major knee ligament injury in an adolescent Finnish population. A population-based cohort of 46,472 adolescents was followed for an average of 9 years. All patients hospitalised with the diagnosis of anterior or posterior cruciate ligament injury (ACL or PCL injury) were include in the analysis.
Results: Altogether 265 (0.6%) persons (194 males and 71 females) from the total cohort of 46,472 persons were treated due to a cruciate ligament injury of the knee during the follow-up, giving an injury incidence of 60.9 (95% CI: 53.6-68.2) per 100,000 person-years. Concerning the socioeconomic, health and lifestyle background variables, the adjusted hazard ratio for a cruciate ligament injury of the knee was 8.5 (95%CI 4.3-16.4) for women and 4.0 (95%CI 2.7-6.1) for men who participated in organised sports four times a week or more.
Conclusions: The general risk for a cruciate ligament injury of the knee is relatively low among adolescents and young adults, but participation to organised sports increases the risk significantly. The risk is especially high in young active women. Preventive measures should be adopted to decrease the short- and long-term burden of these severe injuries.