New Research Suggests Knee Pain In Adolescents Could Lead To Chronic Pain And Joint Problems In Adulthood

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Beverly Hills sports injury specialist and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Eric Millstein comments on the importance of seeking early treatment for knee pain.

Dr. Eric Millstein

It can be fairly common for young people to dismiss or ignore knee pain, but it’s really important for young patients to see an orthopedic specialist about any prolonged pain or symptoms to avoid more serious joint and mobility problems in the future.

A new PhD study authored by Michael Skovdal Rathleff of Aarhus University in Denmark, and published in the BMC Pediatrics journal suggests that in some cases, the knee pain formerly dismissed as routine in growing adolescents could actually persist into adulthood, and lead to chronic pain and possible joint problems like osteoarthritis in the future. Rathleff’s study observed the cases of 3,000 adolescents to determine how early knee pain affected long term physical development and quality of life.

According to the study’s findings, one in three adolescents surveyed between the ages of 12 and 19 experienced some form of knee pain, with at least seven percent reporting daily pain in the front of the knee, and more than half of the subjects still experiencing knee pain after two years.

“It can be fairly common for young people to dismiss or ignore knee pain, but it’s really important for young patients to see an orthopedic specialist about any prolonged pain or symptoms to avoid more serious joint and mobility problems in the future,” said Dr. Eric Millstein, a prominent orthopedic surgeon in Beverly Hills.

The study concluded that allowing knee pain to go untreated in adolescents increases the risk of the pain becoming chronic and persisting into adulthood, with the potential to affect quality of life and making participation in sports and physical activities more difficult. Even more alarming, the study’s findings suggest that adolescents suffering from prolonged knee pain had similar symptoms, and reduced quality of life, as peers waiting to receive ACL reconstruction surgery or 75 year olds post knee replacement surgery.

Rathleff reported that as many as half of the adolescents suffering from knee pain in his study responded positively to physical therapy, and that the earlier a treatment plan is implemented, the greater the likelihood for success.

“Addressing the symptoms early and working with a specialist is the best advice for young people suffering from knee pain and their parents,” added Dr. Millstein. “The longer they wait to get an accurate diagnosis and start physical therapy, the harder it is to fix the problem down the line.”

Dr. Millstein graduated with AOA honors and academic awards from the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and then completed his orthopedic residency training at the University of Chicago. Dr. Millstein also spent 18 months at the Southern Orthopedic Institute in Van Nuys as a fellow in Sports Medicine and Arthroscopic surgery, and continues to study, teach, and utilize the most current techniques in both joint preservation and joint replacement surgery. He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, and the Arthroscopy Association of North America. As an Arthritis specialist, Dr. Millstein has helped many patients manage their arthritis symptoms. If you would like to learn more about Dr. Eric Millstein, please call 310.595.1030 or visit his website http://www.millsteinorthopedics.com.

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