Proximal patellar tendon pathology can develop during adolescence in young ballet dancers—A 2-year longitudinal study

A. Rudavsky, J. L. Cook, S. Docking

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Patellar tendinopathy (tendon pain and dysfunction), or jumper's knee, is prevalent in adult jumping athletes. Pathology in the proximal patellar tendon is a key risk factor for developing patellar tendinopathy. When pathology develops in the proximal patellar tendon is not known, although it is reported to exist in adolescent athletes. The aim of this study was to follow young jumping athletes (ballet dancers) through adolescence to identify whether pathology develops and its relation to the adolescent growth spurt. Fifty-seven elite ballet students between ages 11 and 18 were monitored for 2 years. Data were collected every 6 months, including an ultrasound scan on their left tendons using ultrasound tissue characterization (UTC) to quantify intratendinous changes, anthropometric data to calculate peak height velocity (adolescent growth spurt), participant reports of any injuries or dance modifications, and a VISA-P and single leg decline squat for patellar tendon pain. Nine percentage of adolescent dancers developed pathology during this study, and development was not associated with growth spurt. Peak height velocity and dance participation/volume both at the start and throughout the study were similar in those who did develop pathology and those who did not. Only 2 of 5 participants who developed pathology reported pain associated with their tendon. Pathology in the proximal patellar tendon can develop during adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2035-2041
Number of pages7
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • dance medicine
  • jumper's knee
  • skeletal development

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