The Young Athlete and Their Common Injuries

Young athletes commonly play several sports at the same time, and very often train and play matches most days of the week. The developing musculoskeletal system is placed under a repetitive sub-maximal load without adequate rest periods to allow for adaptation of the system; this leads to overuse injuries. Overuse injuries that are solely specific to the young athlete are apophyseal injuries; this an injury of the growth plate. Here we talk about two of the common apophyseal injuries that affect the young athlete.

Osgood-Schlatters Disease

This is one of the most common problems that occurs in boys aged between 11-15, this is characterised by inflammation and swelling just below the knee cap. There is a boney lump apparent below the knee, that can be tender to touch. This disease usually presents itself during growth spurts, this is because the bones and the muscles grow at different rates leading to the presence of excessive tightness. This tightness in the muscles will then lead to a greater level of irritation surrounding the patella tendon insertion site (just below the knee).

The symptoms of this will follow a pattern that is quickly picked up on by a specialist purely through the questions that they ask, these are; pain in the knee will increase during exercise and decrease with rest, there may be swelling present around the knee, an increase in heat over the knee and there will be a distinctive lump below the knee.

To be accurately diagnosed, a specialist should be sought. From there, they will put together an action plan, this will be drawn up on how best to treat the child leading on from the diagnosis. Treatment will revolve around managing the child’s weekly loading, flexibility exercises, strength exercises and the use of ice for pain relief following exercise.

Sever’s Disease

This is a problem that typically occurs in children between the ages of 7-11, with the pain being felt in the heel. It is thought that this pain will present itself when repetitive jumping and running occur, more specifically, from the pull of the achilles on the growth plate. A specialist is the best person to see to determine the problem.

To treat sever’s disease, the specialist will have a variety of treatments and exercises at their disposal. These treatments and exercises will concentrate on the flexibility of the calf muscle, appropriate use of footwear for maximal support and the use of a heel cushion in the shoe for pain relief. Furthermore, if the child is suffering from the pain felt in the heel, the use of ice can help with the pain relief by producing an analgesic effect.

If you think you know of a young athlete who may suffer from this and want to get them treated, book in and see us to see how we can help.

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