Sport specialization's association with an increased risk of developing anterior knee pain in adolescent female athletes

Randon Hall, Kim Barber Foss, Timothy E. Hewett, Gregory D. Myer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: To determine if sport specialization increases the risk of anterior knee pain in adolescent female athletes. Design: Retrospective cohort epidemiology study. Methods: Female basketball, soccer, and volleyball players (N = 546) were recruited from a single county public school district in Kentucky consisting of 5 middle schools and 4 high schools. A total of 357 multisport and 189 single-sport (66 basketball, 57 soccer, and 66 volleyball) athlete subjects were included due to their diagnosis of patellofemoral pain (PFP) on physical exam. Testing consisted of a standardized history and physician-administered physical examination to determine the presence of PFP. This study compared self-reported multisport athletes with sport-specialized athletes participating in only 1 sport. The sports-participation data were normalized by sport season, with each sport accounting for 1 season of exposure. Incidence rate ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated and used to determine significant differences between athletes who specialized in sport in early youth and multisport athletes. Results: Specialization in a single sport increased the relative risk of PFP incidence 1.5-fold (95% CI 1.0-2.2, P =.038) for cumulative PFP diagnoses. Specific diagnoses such as Sinding Larsen Johansson/patellar tendinopathy (95% CI 1.5-10.1, P =.005) and Osgood Schlatter disease (95% CI 1.5-10.1, P =.005) demonstrated a 4-fold greater relative risk in single-sport compared with multisport athletes. Incidence of other specific PFP diagnoses such as fat pad, plica, trauma, pes anserine bursitis, and iliotibial-band tendonitis was not different between single-sport and multisport participants (P >.05). Conclusion: Early sport specialization in female adolescents is associated with increased risk of anterior knee-pain disorders including PFP, Osgood Schlatter, Sinding Larsen-Johansson compared with multisport athletes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-35
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of sport rehabilitation
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Knee injury
  • Patellofemoral pain
  • Sport injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Sport specialization's association with an increased risk of developing anterior knee pain in adolescent female athletes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this