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Objective: Evaluate effectiveness and harms of interventions for patellar tendon related pain in children and adolescents. Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Data sources: Medline via Pubmed, Embase via OVID, CINAHL via Ebsco, SportDiscus up until 24 November 2017 were searched. Eligibility criteria for selecting studies: Inclusion criteria were (1) controlled or randomised controlled clinical trials (RCTs), (2) participants with diagnosis of patellar tendon related disorder, (3) participants≤18 years of age at enrolment and (4) published in a peer-reviewed English or Scandinavian language journal. Results: Of 530 studies identified, eight were included after screening, with three included in data synthesis. To be included in data synthesis, we required studies to have included (and have data available for) a minimum of 10 participants under 18 years. All studies were rated as being at high risk of bias. For adolescents with patellar tendinopathy, one RCT compared eccentric exercises to usual care and found no difference between groups. In adolescents with Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD), injection of local anaesthetic with dextrose proved superior to either usual care or local anaesthetic alone (three armed RCTs). In a retrospective case controlled study in adolescents with OSD, surgery provided no benefit over conservative management in terms of persistent symptoms and had a higher complication rate. Conclusion: There is weak evidence to support the use of dextrose injection with local anaesthetic and no evidence to support the use of specific types of exercises to treat children/adolescents with OSD/patellar tendinopathy. Until further evidence arises, clinicians should include load modification and advise on a return to sport based on symptoms.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med

Publication Date





adolescent, children, tendinopathy, tendinosis, tendon