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Health Information For Teens
Sinding-Larsen-Johansson (SLJ) syndrome is pain at the bottom of the kneecap (patella). It is caused by swelling and irritation of the growth plate there. A growth plate is a layer of cartilage near the end of a bone where most of the bone’s growth happens. It is weaker and more at risk for injury than the rest of the bone.
SLJ syndrome goes away when a teen is done growing and usually doesn’t cause lasting problems.
SLJ syndrome typically causes pain near the bottom of the kneecap. A teen also might have:
Sinding-Larsen-Johansson syndrome is caused by repeated stress on the kneecap growth plate. The patellar tendon connects the kneecap to the shinbone (tibia). Every time the leg is straightened, the patellar tendon puts stress on the growth plate.
Sinding-Larsen-Johansson syndrome usually happens in teens who are:
SLJ syndrome is an overuse injury. This means it happens because someone does the same movements over and over again.
To diagnose SLJ syndrome, health care providers ask about physical activities and do an exam.
Testing usually isn’t needed. But sometimes doctors order an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to check for other knee problems.
Someone with SLJ syndrome needs to limit activities that cause so much pain that it’s hard to do that activity. For example, if you feel a little pain when running, it’s OK to keep running. But if running causes a limp, stop and rest. When the pain is better (usually after a day or two), you can try the activity again.
To keep leg muscles strong and flexible while you get better, your doctor will recommend physical therapy (PT) or a home strengthening and stretching program. It doesn’t happen often, but some teens might need to take a break from sports for a few weeks.
To feel more comfortable while healing from SLJ syndrome:
Teens with SLJ syndrome usually can do their normal activities, including sports, as long as:
SLJ syndrome may come and go until you’re done growing (usually mid-to-late teens). To help prevent SLJ syndrome from coming back:
When exercising or playing sports:
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (or runner’s knee) is the most common overuse injury among runners, but it can also happen to other athletes who do activities that require a lot of knee bending.
Jumper’s knee is an overuse injury that happens when frequent jumping, running, and changing direction damages the patellar tendon.
Healthy knees are needed for many activities and sports and getting hurt can mean some time sitting on the sidelines.
Playing hard doesn’t have to mean getting hurt. The best way to ensure a long and injury-free athletic career is to play it safe from the start. Find out how.
You practiced hard and made sure you wore protective gear, but you still got hurt. Read this article to find out how to take care of sports injuries – and how to avoid getting them.
Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD) is an overuse injury that can cause knee pain in teens, especially during growth spurts. Learn more.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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