INTRODUCTION: Knee injuries are frequent in children, with most studies reporting traumatic knee injuries. Evidence of risk factors for knee injuries in children is sparse. The purpose of this study was to report the extent of traumatic and overuse knee injuries in children and to evaluate intrinsic and extrinsic factors for risk of these injuries.

METHODS: Weekly musculoskeletal pain, sport participation and sports type were reported by 1326 school children (8-15 years). Knee injuries were classified as traumatic or overuse. Multinomial logistic regression was used for analyses.

RESULTS: During the study period, 952 (15% traumatic, 85% overuse) knee injuries were diagnosed. Period prevalence for traumatic and overuse knee injuries were 0.8/1000 and 5.4/1000 sport participations, respectively. Participation in tumbling gymnastics was a risk factor for traumatic knee injuries (OR 2.14). For overuse knee injuries, intrinsic risk factors were sex (girls OR 1.38), and previous knee injury (OR 1.78), while participation in soccer (OR 1.64), handball (OR 1.95), basket (OR 2.07), rhythmic (OR 1.98), and tumbling gymnastics (OR 1.74) were additional risk factors. For both injury types, sport participation above two times/week increased odds (OR 1.46-2.40).

CONCLUSION: Overuse knee injuries were the most frequent injury type. For traumatic knee injuries, participation in tumbling gymnastics was a risk factor. Risk factors for overuse knee injuries were being a girl, previous knee injury and participation in soccer, handball, basket, rhythmic and tumbling gymnastics. Further risk factors for both types of injury were participation in sports above two times/week. Although growth-related overuse knee injuries are a self-limiting condition, a major part of children are affected by these injuries with unknown short and long-term consequences.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)655-662
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • Knee Injuries/epidemiology
  • Basketball/injuries
  • Athletic Injuries/epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Soccer/injuries
  • Male
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders/epidemiology
  • Musculoskeletal Pain/epidemiology
  • Adolescent
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Gymnastics/injuries
  • Child
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Sports


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