Pediatric Knee Dislocations and Physeal Fractures About the Knee

J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2015 Sep;23(9):571-80. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-14-00242. Epub 2015 Aug 13.


Given the high incidence of vascular and neurologic injury associated with pediatric knee dislocations and displaced physeal injuries about the knee, a thorough understanding of the clinical and radiographic signs associated with these injuries, relevant anatomy, workup, reduction techniques, and surgical management is crucial. A higher incidence of these injuries in children is anticipated because of increased participation in high-energy activities that result in contact or collision during sports or recreation. Complications, such as vascular and nerve injuries and compartment syndrome, can be diagnosed early in the workup to prevent catastrophic outcomes. The clinical examination should include evaluation of the motor and sensory status of the limb, palpation of pulses, and measurement of ankle brachial indices. Radiographic examination should include plain radiography and supplemental advanced imaging, if indicated. Vascular imaging or expert consultation should be considered when the pulse or ankle brachial index is abnormal on clinical examination. Selection of nonsurgical or surgical treatment depends on the fracture pattern and stability.

Keywords: knee dislocation; pediatric; physeal fracture.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Epiphyses / physiopathology
  • Fractures, Bone / complications
  • Fractures, Bone / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Knee Dislocation / complications
  • Knee Dislocation / physiopathology*
  • Knee Injuries / complications
  • Knee Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology
  • Radiography