Knee injuries are common and account in various sports for 15-50% of all sports injuries. The cost of knee injuries is therefore a large part of the cost for medical care of sports injuries. Furthermore, the risk of acquiring a knee injury during sports is considered higher for females than for males. The nationwide organization "Youth and Sports" represents the major source of organized sports and recreation for Swiss youth and engages annually around 370000 participants in the age group of 14 to 20 years. The purpose of this study was to combine data on knee injuries from two sources, the first being data on the exposure to risk found in the activity registration in "Youth and Sports" and the second injuries with their associated costs resulting from the activities and filed at the Swiss Military Insurance. This allowed calculation of knee injury incidences, to compare risks between males and females and to estimate the costs of medical treatment. The study comprises 3864 knee injuries from 12 sports during 7 years. Females were significantly more at risk in six sports: alpinism, downhill skiing, gymnastics, volleyball, basketball and team handball. The incidences of knee injuries and of cruciate ligament injuries in particular, together with the costs per hour of participation, all displayed the same sports as the top five for both females and males: ice hockey, team handball, soccer, downhill skiing and basketball. Female alpinism and gymnastics had also high rankings. Knee injuries comprised 10% of all injuries in males and 13% in females, but their proportional contribution to the costs per hour of participation was 27% and 33%, respectively. From this study it can be concluded that females were significantly more at risk for knee injuries than males in six sports and that knee injuries accounted for a high proportion of the costs of medical treatment.