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Anterior Knee Pain

Unexplained knee pain is extremely common in 14 -16 year olds, particularly girls. There is often a history of several months of knee pain prior to seeking medical advice.

It is rare for an injury to be responsible for the pain. The knee examination is usually normal. MRI and arthroscopy findings are also usually normal.

Growth spurts

Current medical thinking behind this syndrome relates to the rapid growth that occurs in most 14 -16 year olds. The bones on either side of the knee joint (femur and tibia) lengthen, tensioning the hamstrings and quadriceps muscles thus reducing their flexibility.

A musculoskeletal specialist may pick up signs of poor hamstring length. This is easily detectable when teenagers can't touch their toes or are unable to perform a single leg raise with their knee perfectly straight.

Get fit and flexible

Rather than avoiding physical activity it is best to encourage your teenager to keep fit by doing exercise such as dance, yoga and martial arts that improve flexibility.

These activities have been shown to reduce the severity of unexplained knee pain in teenagers.