Uneasiness that is dismissed as 'growing pains' in teenagers
can continue into adulthood, says a new study.
A third of teenagers
suffer pains in their knees - and for half of them the pain does not go away.
In fact, if it is
not properly treated, it could turn into osteoarthritis, the study suggests.
The study shows that
a quarter of the elderly who have knee replacements due to osteoarthritis of
the kneecap said they suffered from pain in the knees as a teenager.
Physiotherapist Dr Michael Skovdal Rathleff of Aarhus
said osteoarthritis of the kneecap can in some cases begin with
knee pain during adolescence.
"Seven percent of the adolescents experience daily knee
pain in the front of the knee. More than half still have issues after two
years, so it is not something they necessarily grow out of," he said.
His findings show that knee pain is a bigger problem than
previously assumed and it needed to be taken more seriously.
"If knee pain is not treated there is a high risk of
the pain becoming chronic. And this clearly has a big consequence for the
individual's everyday life.
The findings show that these adolescents have as much pain
symptoms and reduced quality of life as adolescents on a waiting list for a
cruciate knee ligament reconstruction, or as a 75-year-old six months after
receiving a new knee.
Secondly, we can see that this group of adolescents often
stops doing sport because of the knee pain. This is, of course, extremely unfortunate,
because we know that it is very difficult to start again once you have
stopped," he added
According to the researchers, the good news is that the pain
disappears with the right training in the case of up to half of the young
However, it can be a challenge to fit such training into the
daily life of an adolescent, they suggested.
Dr Michael Skovdal Rathleff said: "It is disturbing
that the pain only disappears in the case of half of the young people who
actually do the training.
The indications are that we should begin the treatment
somewhat earlier where it is easier to cure the pain. Although this does not
necessarily mean that all adolescents with bad knees must consult a
A closer association between physiotherapists and
general practitioners about how to best help these young people could also be a
The study was published in the journal BMC Pediatrics