What is adolescent anterior knee pain?

Many athletes in their teens suffer from adolescent anterior knee pain – pain at the center of the knee, typically behind the patella (kneecap). This condition is most often an issue for girls.

When adolescents have pain in this area, the good news is that it is typically not a sign that the knee itself is problematic; rather, it is being repeatedly strained through overexertion or insufficient stretching. Often you will be able to heal and alleviate the knee pain simply by resting and using strengthening exercises, as prescribed by a physical therapist or chiropractor.

In some cases, though, this pain is a symptom of another root issue.

Causes of the condition

Common causes of adolescent anterior knee pain include the following disorders and diseases, according to UK general practitioner Dr. Colin Tidy in Patient:

·      Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) – Often this term is used interchangeably with adolescent anterior knee pain, but it’s not always the correct diagnosis. “PFPS is very common,” adds Dr. Tidy. “Symptoms are usually provoked by climbing or descending stairs, squatting and sitting with flexed knees for long periods of time.”

·      Osgood-Schlatter disease / Sinding-Larsen Johansson disease – These two very similar diseases can be the source of knee pain for adolescents, with symptoms exacerbated when a teenager jumps or kneels.

·      Bipartite patella – As its name suggests, this means that your kneecap is made up of two bones rather than one. In most cases, though, this condition does not cause pain.

·      Kneecap misalignment – Typically misalignment occurs along with injury to the articular cartilage in the patellofemoral joint (PFJ). This type of structural imbalance is most often diagnosed in girls. It may lead to repeated kneecap dislocation. (Note that doctors will sometimes recommend surgery in more extreme cases, but we have alternatives.)

·      Hypermobility – “Joints that are more flexible than normal or that move in excess of a normal range of motion are considered hypermobile,” explains the American College of Rheumatology. Typically this problem arises during the growth spurt of puberty.

Other contributing factors

Here are additional factors that can contribute to the development of anterior knee pain among adolescents, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

·      The quadriceps are too weak.

·      The hamstrings and quadriceps are imbalanced.

·      The hamstrings and quadriceps are stiff.

·      The methods or tools used for conditioning are flawed.

·      The shoes or the field are problematic.

Treatment for adolescent anterior knee pain

Are you or a loved one suffering from adolescent anterior knee pain? Our physical therapy and chiropractic programs can help you find knee pain relief so you can return to your favorite activities as quickly as possible. Get a free consultation with the doctor.