Sinding-Larsen-Johansson (SLJ) syndrome is a common cause of knee pain in teenagers. It is an overuse injury that affects children and teens during periods of rapid growth.

SLJ is the swelling and irritation of the growth plate at the bottom of the kneecap. This can lead to pain in the affected area. SLJ goes away when a teen stops growing and usually does not cause lasting problems.

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What are the signs and symptoms of Sinding-Larsen-Johansson (SLJ) syndrome??

  • Swelling and tenderness around the kneecap
  • Worsening pain with activity
  • Worsening pain with kneeling or squatting
  • Swollen or bony bump at the bottom of the kneecap

What causes Sinding-Larsen-Johansson (SLJ) syndrome?

  • Growth spurts during puberty
  • Exacerbated by sports or activities involving a lot of running or jumping

How is Sinding-Larsen-Johansson (SLJ) syndrome diagnosed?

  • Physical exam
  • Imaging if necessary:
    • X-rays
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

How is Sinding-Larsen-Johansson (SLJ) syndrome treated?

Treatment depends on the extent of your child’s injury. There are several non-surgical options to treat Sinding-Larsen-Johansson (SLJ) syndrome:

  • I.C.E. – Rest, ice, compression and elevation
  • Activity modification or restriction
  • Anti-inflammatory medication (e.g., ibuprofen)
  • Pain-relief medication (e.g., acetaminophen)
  • Physical therapy
  • Knee brace

Surgery is only necessary in more severe or complicated cases of SLJ. Doctors at Connecticut Children’s can determine the right plan to treat your child’s injury.