Youth Sports Injuries

Youth & Kids Sports Injuries

Article by John Miller

Youth Sports Injuries

youth sports injuries

Why Do You Need To Take Youth & Kids Sports Injuries Seriously?

40% of all youth (children, teenager and adolescent) injuries are sports-related. Overall, male and female injury rates are becoming equal due to the gradually increasing female participation rate. Injuries related to sports participation fall into two types of trauma:

  • Macrotrauma due to a single traumatic event, e.g. fracture, and
  • Microtrauma due to repetitive overuse.

Injuries in a young athlete should not be underinvestigated. They are usually asked or encouraged to “toughen up and play through the pain.” This approach is not in the young athlete’s best interest for the following reasons:

  • it often leads to both delayed injury healing and returns to sports,
  • it can turn an easily treatable injury into one that becomes difficult to treat,
  • in some cases, it can result in severe permanent damage that precludes future sports participation, or
  • it is a significant life-changing condition, e.g. malignancy, avascular necrosis.

An Accurate Diagnosis is Essential

In most cases, your physiotherapist can make an accurate diagnosis by listening to your child’s injury history and performing a thorough clinical examination. The adolescent’s age, sex, and level of participation in sports are essential. A description of how the injury occurred is valuable. Your physiotherapist will want to know if there was a “pop”, swelling, history of the previous injury, family history of a similar injury, locking or giving way, or other signs or symptoms. They’ll also ask you about how much training and game time our child is having to detect whether “overtraining” could be predisposing them to injury.

While special diagnostic tests such as X-ray, MRI and ultrasound scans may be required, in most cases an accurate diagnosis can be made by taking a good history and performing a systematic examination of the injured structures.

Osteochondritis Dissecans

What is Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Knee?

Separation of a piece of bone from its main base is Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD). The most common region in the body to experience osteochondritis dissecans os your knee. This knee injury is usually due to one major macro event with repetitive macro trauma that prevents complete healing. This injury is potentially severe. Treatment varies from rest to surgery. Early diagnostic assessment and an Orthopaedic Surgeon’s opinion is vital.

What is Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Elbow?

Osteochondritis dissecans is a common source of lateral elbow pain. The immature bones of the elbow joint can compress from excessive overhand throwing. Small fragments of bone and cartilage may dislodge and potentially float within the joint. Surgery may be required to remove the loose bodies.

The key to pain relief is active resting from the aggravating sport. If left untreated, throwing injuries in the elbow can become severe conditions. Depending upon the severity of a child’s injury, surgery may be required. If a child’s pain continues after a few days of complete rest, please seek the advice of your physiotherapist or doctor.

What is Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Ankle?

Osteochondritis dissecans is also reasonably common in the ankle joint.

Avulsion Fracture

An avulsion fracture occurs when a small segment of bone attached to a tendon or ligament gets pulled away from the main bone. The pelvis, hip, elbow and ankle are the most common locations for avulsion fractures in the young sportsperson.

Treatment of an avulsion fracture typically includes active rest, ice and protecting the affected area. This period of active rest is followed by controlled exercises that help restore range of motion, improve muscle strength and promote bone healing. Your physiotherapist should supervise your post-avulsion exercises. Most avulsion fractures heal very well.  You may need to spend a few weeks on crutches if you have an avulsion fracture around your hip. An avulsion fracture to your foot or ankle may require a cast or walking boot.

In rare cases, an excessive gap between the avulsed bone fragment and main bone may not rejoin naturally. Surgery may be necessary to reunite them. In children, avulsion fractures that involve the growth plates also might require surgery. All avulsion fractures should be reviewed and managed by your trusted physiotherapist or an Orthopaedic Surgeon.

Stress Reaction of Growth Plates (Physis)

Repetitive stress on a child’s growth plate (physis) in the arms or legs, if ignored, can impair growth. It can also be painful.

Overuse stress reaction may lead to irregularity or widening of the growth plate. If you continue repetitive stress, the growth plate may become permanently damaged and could stop growing prematurely. This premature cessation could lead to a bone deformity. Early diagnosis and professional injury management are vital. Please seek the advice of your trusted sports physiotherapist or doctor.

Overuse Injuries

Most overuse injuries, such as stress fractures and tendinopathies, are preventable. If your child suffers any overuse injury, the first choice of treatment is rest until you seek a medical opinion. In young athletes, this means avoiding the activity that is causing the problem, or reducing the intensity, until the discomfort resolves. Bed rest or immobilisation are rarely needed.

Managing your child’s “exercise load” is particularly important. “Gifted” athletes are often the victims of overtraining and over competing. Their natural athleticism encourages their school, club and representative coaches to overplay and overtrain these kids. They are usually the start of the team, and everyone wants them to play.  As a parent, you must convey the volume of training and game time to their coaches. The good coaches will understand that overloading is a manageable problem, But unfortunately, not every coach does what is best for the child!

Tips for Parents and Coaches

Adolescents have a lot of enjoyable sporting years ahead of them. It would be a shame to see this enjoyment ended too soon.

  • Allow your kids to play at their intensity and pace.
  • Encourage your child to start getting in shape and conditioning a month before any team sports are to begin.
  • Emphasise stretching and flexibility exercises.
  • Start core stability and postural exercises early in life. Gymnasts start very soon to develop excellent body control. This core control should also apply to other sports.
  • Make sure fields are in reasonably good condition and that protective equipment fits correctly (helmets, shoulder pads, shin guards, etc.).

When in doubt, seek expert medical advice. It’s better to be safe than sorry. In general, kids are motivated to play sports because it is fun. Parents and coaches who demand too much may be putting their children at risk.

Common Youth & Kids Sports Injuries

Common Youth Spine Injuries

Common Youth Leg Injuries

Common Youth Arm Injuries

Avulsion Fractures

Juvenile Osteochondritis Dissecans

Growing Pains

FAQs about Adolescent & Children’s Sports Injuries

Sports Injury Management

You probably already know that a sports injury can not only affect your performance, but also your lifestyle. The latest research continues to change sports injury management considerably.  Our challenge is to keep up to date with the latest research and put them to work for you.

How we treated you last year could vary greatly to how we treat you this year. The good news is that you can benefit significantly from our knowledge.

What Should You Do When You Suffer a Sports Injury?

Rest?

Rest from painful exercise or a movement is essential in the early injury stage. "No pain. No gain." does not apply in most cases.  The rule of thumb is - don't do anything that reproduces your pain for the initial two or three days.  After that, you need to get it moving or other problems will develop.

Ice or Heat?

We normally recommend avoiding heat (and heat rubs) in the first 48 hours of injury. The heat encourages bleeding, which could be detrimental if used too early. In traumatic injuries, such as ligament sprains, muscle tears or bruising, ice should help reduce your pain and swelling.

Once the "heat" has come out of your injury, heat packs  can be used. We recommend 20 minute applications a few times a day to increase the blood flow and hasten your healing rate. Heat will also help your muscles relax and ease your pain. If you're not sure what to do, please call us to specifically discuss your situation.

Should You Use a Compressive Bandage?

Yes. A compressive bandage will help to control swelling and bleeding in the first few days.  In most cases, the bandage will also help to support the injury as the new scar tissue is laid down. This should help to reduce your pain. Some injuries will benefit from more rigid support such as a brace or strapping tape. Please ask us if you are uncertain what to do next.

Elevation?

Gravity will encourage swelling to settle at the lowest point.  Elevation of an injury in the first few days is very helpful, especially for ankle or hand injuries.  Think where your injury is and where your heart is. Try to rest your injury above your heart.

What Medication Should You Use?

Your Doctor or Pharmacist may recommend pain killers or an anti-inflammatory drug. It is best to seek their professional advice as certain drugs can interfere with other health conditions, especially asthmatics.

When Should You Commence Physio?

In most cases, "the early bird gets the worm".  Researchers have found that intervention of physiotherapy treatment within a few days has many benefits.  These include:

  • Relieving your pain quicker via joint mobility techniques, massage and electrotherapy
  • Improving your scar tissue using techniques to guide the direction it forms
  • Getting you back to sport or work quicker through faster healing rates
  • Loosening or strengthening of your injured region with individually prescribed exercises
  • Improving your performance when you do return to sport - we'll detect and help you to correct any biomechanical faults that may be affecting your technique or predisposing you to injury

What If You Do Nothing?

Research tells us that injuries left untreated take longer to heal and have lingering pain.  They are also more likely to recur and leave you with either joint stiffness or muscle weakness. It's important to remember that symptoms lasting longer than three months become habitual and are much harder to solve.  The sooner you get on top of your symptoms the better your outcome.

What About Arthritis?

Previously injured joints can prematurely become arthritic through neglect. Generally there are four main reasons why you develop arthritis:

  • Previous injury that was inappropriately treated (eg old joint or ligament sprains)
  • Poor joint positioning (biomechanical faults)
  • Stiff joints (lack of movement diminishes joint nutrition)
  • Loose joints (excessive sloppiness causes joint damage through poor control)

What About Your Return to Sport?

Your physiotherapist will guide you safely back to the level of sport at which you wish to participate.  If you need guidance, simply ask us.

What If You Need Surgery or X-rays?

Not only will your physio diagnose your sports injury and give you the "peace of mind" associated, they'll also refer you elsewhere if that's what's best for you. Think about it. you could be suffering needlessly from a sports injury.  Please use our advice to guide you out of pain quicker . and for a lot longer.

If you have any questions regarding your sports injury (or any other condition), please contact your physiotherapist to discuss. You'll find our friendly staff happy to point you in the right direction.

Acute Sports Injury Clinic

PhysioWorks has established an Acute Sports Injury Clinic at our Ashgrove, Clayfield and Sandgate practices to assist with the early assessment and management of acutely injured sports injuries.

The acute sports injury consultation fee is significantly lower than a routine assessment and treatment consultation. In most cases, your private health will cover the full cost of your full acute injury physio assessment fee.

How to Best Care for Your Sports Injury?

There is never an excellent time for an injury. But we do know that most sports injuries occur over the weekend! That's why at PhysioWorks, we have established an Acute Sports Injury Clinic at a selection of our clinics on a Monday and Tuesday.

Why Use an Acute Sports Injury Clinic?

Your Acute Sports Injury Assessment Consultation allows us to provide you with:

  • A quick and accurate diagnosis. One of our Sports Physiotherapist's or an experienced sports injury-focused Physiotherapist will confidently guide your new injury management.
  • Early acute sports injury care, professional advice and education. What to do this week?
  • Fast referral for X-rays, ultrasound or MRI scans to confirm your diagnosis.
  • Prompt referral to Sports Physicians, GPs or Surgeons with whom we work if required.
  • Immediate supply of walking boots, braces and rental crutches if needed.
  • Low-cost professional service.

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sports physiotherapist brisbane

Who is a Sports Physiotherapist?

Sports Physiotherapy is the specialised branch of physiotherapy which deals with injuries and issues related to spokespeople. Practitioners with additional formal training within Australia are Sports & Exercise Physiotherapists.

What is Sports Physiotherapy?

Sports injuries do differ from common everyday injuries. Athletes usually require high-level performance and demand placed upon their body, which stresses their muscles, joints and bones to the limit.  Sports physiotherapists help athletes recover from sporting injuries, and provide education and resources to prevent problems.

Each sports physiotherapist usually has sport-specific knowledge that addresses acute, chronic and overuse injuries. Their services are generally available to sportsmen and women of all ages engaged in sports at any level of competition.

Members of Sports Physiotherapy Australia (SPA) have experience and knowledge of the latest evidence-based practice, skilled assessment and diagnosis of sports injuries, and use effective 'hands-on' management techniques and exercise protocols to assist recovery and prevent future damage. SPA members have access to the most recent advances in sports physiotherapy. You'll be pleased to know that most of PhysioWorks physiotherapists and massage therapists have a particular interest in sports injury management.

What is Physiotherapy Treatment?

Physiotherapists help people affected by illness, injury or disability through exercise, manual joint therapy, soft tissue techniques education and advice.  Physiotherapists maintain physical health, help patients to manage pain and prevent disease for people of all ages. Physiotherapists help to encourage pain-relief, injury recovery, enabling people to stay playing a sport, working or performing activities of daily living while assisting them to remain functionally independent.

There is a multitude of different physiotherapy treatment approaches.

Acute & Sub-Acute Injury Management

Hands-On Physiotherapy Techniques

physiotherapy treatment

Your physiotherapist's training includes hands-on physiotherapy techniques such as:

Your physiotherapist has skilled training. Physiotherapy techniques have expanded over the past few decades. They have researched, upskilled and educated themselves in a spectrum of allied health skills. These skills include techniques shared with other healthcare practitioners. Professions include exercise physiologists, remedial massage therapists, osteopaths, acupuncturists, kinesiologists, chiropractors and occupational therapists, just to name a few.

Physiotherapy Taping

Your physiotherapist is a highly skilled professional who utilises strapping and taping techniques to prevent and assist injuries or pain relief and function.

Alternatively, your physiotherapist may recommend a supportive brace.

Acupuncture and Dry Needling

Many physiotherapists have acquired additional training in the field of acupuncture and dry needling to assist pain relief and muscle function.

Physiotherapy Exercises

Physiotherapists have been trained in the use of exercise therapy to strengthen your muscles and improve your function. Physiotherapy exercises use evidence-based protocols where possible as an effective way that you can solve or prevent pain and injury. Your physiotherapist is highly-skilled in the prescription of the "best exercises" for you and the most appropriate "exercise dose" for you depending on your rehabilitation status. Your physiotherapist will incorporate essential components of pilates, yoga and exercise physiology to provide you with the best result. They may even use Real-Time Ultrasound Physiotherapy so that you can watch your muscles contract on a screen as you correctly retrain them.

Biomechanical Analysis

Biomechanical assessment, observation and diagnostic skills are paramount to the best treatment. Your physiotherapist is a highly skilled health professional. They possess superb diagnostic skills to detect and ultimately avoid musculoskeletal and sports injuries. Poor technique or posture is one of the most common sources of a repeat injury.

Hydrotherapy

Aquatic water exercises are an effective method to provide low bodyweight exercises.

Sports Physiotherapy

Sports physio requires an extra level of knowledge and physiotherapy skill to assist injury recovery, prevent injury and improve performance. For the best advice, consult a Sports Physiotherapist.

Vestibular Physiotherapy

Women's Health

Women's Health Physiotherapy is a particular interest group of therapies.

Workplace Physiotherapy

Not only can your physiotherapist assist you in sport, but they can also help you at work. Ergonomics looks at the best postures and workstation set up for your body at work or home. Whether it be lifting technique improvement, education programs or workstation setups, your physiotherapist can help you.

Electrotherapy

Plus Much More

Your physiotherapist is a highly skilled body mechanic. A physiotherapist has particular interests in certain injuries or specific conditions. For advice regarding your individual problem, please contact your PhysioWorks team.

Tendinopathy (tendon injuries) can develop in any tendon of the body. You may have heard of tendinopathies being referred to as its aliases: tendonitis, tendinitis, tenosynovitis and tendinosis. In simple terms, they are all tendon injury pathologies so the medical community now refers to them as tendinopathies.Typically, tendon injuries occur in three areas:
  • tendon insertion (where the tendon attaches to the bone)
  • mid-tendon (non-insertional tendinopathy)
  • musculotendinous junction (where the tendon attaches to the muscle)

What is a Tendon Injury?

Tendons are the tough fibres that connect muscle to bone. Most tendon injuries occur near joints, such as the shoulder, elbow, knee, and ankle. A tendon injury may seem to occur suddenly, but usually, it is the result of repetitive tendon overloading. As mentioned earlier, health care professionals may use different terms to describe a tendon injury. You may hear:Tendinitis (or Tendonitis): This means "inflammation of the tendon".Mild inflammation is actually a normal tendon healing response to exercise or activity loading, but it can become excessive, where the rate of injury exceeds your healing capacity.

Tendinopathy Phases

The inability of your tendon to adapt to the load quickly enough causes the tendon to progress through four phases of tendon injury. While it is healthy for normal tissue adaptation during phase one, further progression can lead to tendon cell death and subsequent tendon rupture.

1. Reactive Tendinopathy

  • Normal tissue adaptation phase
  • Prognosis: Excellent.
  • Normal Recovery!

2. Tendon Dysrepair

  • Injury rate > Repair rate
  • Prognosis: Good.
  • The tendon tissue is attempting to heal.
  • It is vital that you prevent deterioration and progression to permanent cell death (phase 3).

3. Degenerative Tendinopathy

  • Cell death occurs
  • Prognosis: Poor!
  • Tendon cells are dying!

4. Tendon Tear or Rupture

  • Catastrophic tissue breakdown
  • Loss of function.
  • Prognosis: very poor.
  • Surgery is often the only option.

What is Your Tendinopathy Phase?

It is very important to have your tendinopathy professionally assessed to identify it’s current injury phase. Identifying your tendinopathy phase is also vital to direct your most effective treatment since certain treatment modalities or exercises should only be applied or undertaken in specific tendon healing phases.

Systemic Risk Factors

The evidence is growing that it is more than just the tendon and overload that causes tendinopathy. Diabetics, post-menopausal women and men with high central adiposity (body fat) seem to be predisposed to tendinopathies and will need to carefully watch their training loads.

What are the Symptoms of Tendinopathy?

Tendinopathy usually causes pain, stiffness, and loss of strength in the affected area.
  • The pain may get worse when you use the tendon.
  • You may have more pain and stiffness during the night or when you get up in the morning.
  • The area may be tender, red, warm, or swollen if there is inflammation.
  • You may notice a crunchy sound or feeling when you use the tendon.
The symptoms of a tendon injury can be similar or combined with bursitis.

How is a Tendon Injury Diagnosed?

To diagnose a tendon injury, your physiotherapist or doctor will ask questions about your past health, your symptoms and recent exercise regime. They'll undertake a thorough physical examination to confirm the diagnosis. They will then discuss your condition and devise an individualised treatment plan.They may refer you for specific diagnostic tests, such as an ultrasound scan or MRI.

Tendinopathy Treatment

Tendinopathies can normally be quickly and effectively rehabilitated. However, there is a percentage of tendinopathies that can take months to treat effectively.As mentioned earlier in this article, it is important to know what phase your tendinopathy currently is. You physiotherapist can assist not only your diagnosis but also guide your treatment to fast-track your recovery.Before you seek the advice of your physiotherapist or doctor, you can start treating an acute tendon injury at home. To achieve the best results, start these steps right away:
  • Rest the painful area, and avoid any activity that makes the pain worse.
  • Apply ice or cold packs for 20 minutes at a time, as often as 2 times an hour, for the first 72 hours. Keep using ice as long as it helps.
  • Do gentle range-of-motion exercises and stretching to prevent stiffness.

When to Return to Sport

Every tendinopathy is different, so please be guided by your physiotherapist assessment. It may take weeks or months for some tendon injury to heal and safely cope with a return to sporting loads. Be patient, and stick with the treatment exercises and load doses prescribed by your physiotherapist. If you start using the injured tendon too soon, it can lead to more damage, and set you back weeks!

Tendinopathy Prevention

To minimise reinjuring your tendon, you may require some long-term changes to your exercise activities. These should be discussed with your physiotherapist. Some factors that could influence your tendinopathy risk include:
  • Altering your sport/activities or your technique
  • Regular prevention exercises.
  • Closely monitoring and record your exercise loads. Discuss your loading with your physiotherapist and coach. They will have some excellent tips.
  • Always take time to warm up before and cool down / stretch after you exercise.

Tendinopathy Prognosis

While most acute tendinopathies can resolve quickly, persisting tendon injuries may take many months to resolve. Long-term or repeat tendinopathies usually have multifactorial causes that will require a thorough assessment and individualised rehabilitation plan.  Researchers have found that tendon injuries do respond differently to muscle injuries and can take months to solve or potentially render you vulnerable to tendon ruptures, which can require surgery.For specific advice regarding your tendinopathy, please seek the advice of your trusted healthcare professional with a special interest in tendinopathies.

Why is Post-Operative Physiotherapy Beneficial?

The success of your surgery doesn't finish the moment you leave the operating theatre. There is a famous quote:"The only place 'success' comes before 'work' is in the dictionary." Vidal Sassoon.Your surgeon will have skilfully performed a surgical procedure that is the initial step towards your successful outcome. However, you'll have to do some work in the form of exercises to optimise your results.In the hospital, you'll be provided with simple exercises to minimise complications such as chest infection or DVT's. You may even be prescribed some early strengthening or range of motion exercises. Once you are discharged, you'll commonly require re-assessment and checking of your progress.Post-orthopaedic surgery, you'll almost certainly require exercise progression to fully regain your strength, flexibility and function. The quickest and easiest way to return to your day to day activities is by consulting a physiotherapist experienced in post-operative rehabilitation. Based on their assessment, they'll prescribe the most appropriate exercise for your and discuss your post-operative treatment.At PhysioWorks, we'll happily assist you in your post-operative care. We are familiar with the treatment protocols prescribed by most Orthopaedic Surgeons. We'll happily liaise with your surgeon to determine any specific requirements based on your individual surgery.

Common Surgeries Requiring Post-Operative Care

Shoulder

Shoulder Reconstruction, Shoulder Stabilisation, Rotator Cuff Repair, Acromioplasty, Manipulation, Capsulotomy, Fracture

Elbow

Tennis Elbow Release, Golfers Elbow Release, Fracture

Wrist & Hand

Carpal Tunnel Release, Fracture, Tendon Repairs

Hip

Hip Replacements/Resurfacing, Hip labral repairs, Hip Arthroscope, Fracture

Knee

Knee Replacements, ACL and Ligament Reconstruction, Arthroscope, Meniscal Repairs, Chondroplasty, Lateral Release, Patella Tendon Transfer, Fracture

Calf

Achilles Tendon Repairs, Fasciotomy

Ankle & Foot

Ankle Reconstruction, Ligament Repairs, Arthroscope, Fracture, Spur Removal, Bunionectomy

Spine (Neck & Back)

Discectomy, Micro-discectomy, Laminectomy, Spinal Fusion/Stabilisation

Individualised Post-operative Physiotherapy

At PhysioWorks we'll work with you to develop a tailor-made rehabilitation program to ensure you make the best possible recovery in the quickest time. Whatever your needs, we'll get you back to your work, sport or day to day activities ASAP.If you have been a surgical patient, it is always beneficial to inform your surgeon that you would like to return for post-operative care at PhysioWorks.You can make an appointment with PhysioWorks at any stage. This is especially important if you believe you are not making satisfactory progress in your recovery, or if your mobility is compromised.

It's the PhysioWorks Difference

You'll be impressed with the experienced physiotherapists, massage therapists and reception staff who represent PhysioWorks.  To ensure that we remain highly qualified, we are committed to participating in continuing education to ensure optimal care.If you've been searching for therapists with a serious interest in your rehabilitation or injury prevention program, our staff have either participated or are still participating in competitive sports at a representative level.We also currently provide physiotherapy and massage services for numerous sports clubs. Our experience assists us to understand what you need to do to safely and quickly return to the sporting field, home duties or your employment.

How You'll Benefit from the PhysioWorks Difference?

At PhysioWorks physiotherapy and massage clinics, we strive to offer our clients quickeffective and long lasting results by providing high-quality treatment.Our aim is not only to get you better quicker, but also to create a friendly and caring environment conducive to successful healing.With many years of clinical experience, our friendly service and quality treatment is a benchmark not only in Brisbane but Australia-wide.

What are some of the BIG Differences?

Our therapists pride themselves on keeping up to date with the latest research and treatment skills to ensure that they are providing you with the most advantageous treatment methods. They are constantly updating their knowledge via seminars, conferences, workshops, scientific journals etc.Not only will you receive a detailed consultation, but we offer long-term solutions, not just quick fixes that in reality, only last for a short time.We attempt to treat the cause, not just the symptoms.PhysioWorks clinics are modern thinking. Not only in their appearance but in the equipment we use and in our therapists' knowledge.Our staff actually care about you!  We are always willing to go that 'extra mile' to guarantee that we cater to our clients' special needs.All in all, we feel that your chances of the correct diagnosis, the most effective treatment and the best outcomes are all better at PhysioWorks.

7 Ways to Prevent a Future Leg Injury?

You may reduce the chance of leg injury by following these seven simple tips:
  • Warm-up before you exercise.
  • Warm down when you finish. Warm down usually includes some simple stretching exercises and plyometric drills.
  • Wear well-fitting shoes, boots or braces that provide excellent joint support.
  • Tape or brace your ankles/knees in high-risk sports such as football, basketball, volleyball and netball.
  • Avoid activities on slippery, wet or uneven surfaces, or in areas with poor lighting.
  • Strengthen your leg muscles and regularly use a wobble disc or balance board
  • Maintain general functional fitness.

Youth Spinal Pain

Teenager Neck & Back Pain

teenager back painTeenagers can be particularly vulnerable to back pain, mainly due to a combination of high flexibility and low muscle strength and posture control. The competitive athlete and most individuals who exercise regularly or maintain a level of fitness and core stability control are less prone to spine injury and problems due to the strength and flexibility of supporting structures. Your physiotherapist can assist the resolution of any deficits in this area. Luckily, issues involving the lower lumbar spine are rare in athletes and account for less than 10% of sports-related injuries. Injuries do occur in contact sports and with repetitive strain sports.Sports such as gymnastics, cricket fast bowlers, and tennis have a higher incidence of associated lumbar spine problems related to repetitive twisting and hyper-bending motions.Spondylolisthesis is a significant concern and needs to be appropriately treated by a physiotherapist with a particular interest in these type of injuries. Luckily, most injuries are minor, self-limited, and respond quickly to physiotherapy treatment.

Common Adolescent Spinal Injuries

Lower Back (Lumbar Spine)

Midback (Thoracic Spine)

Neck (Cervical Spine)

Pelvis

For specific advice regarding youth neck or back pain, please seek the professional advice of your trusted spinal physiotherapist or doctor.Common Youth & Teenager Sports InjuriesCommon Youth Leg InjuriesCommon Youth Arm Injuries

Common Youth Leg Injuries

youth sports injuries

Why are Children's Injuries Different to Adults?

Adolescent injuries differ from adult injuries, mainly because the bones are still growing. The growth plates (physis) are cartilaginous (strong connective tissue) areas of the bones from which the bones elongate or enlarge. Repetitive stress or sudden large forces can cause injury to these areas.

Common Adolescent Leg Injuries

In the adolescent leg, common injuries include:

Osgood-Schlatter's Disease

Pain at the bump just below the knee cap (tibia tubercle). Overuse injuries commonly occur here. The tibia tubercle is the anchor point of your mighty quadriceps (thigh) muscles. It is because of excessive participation in running and jumping sports that the tendon pulls bone off and forms a painful lump that will remain forever. This type of injury responds to reduced activity and physiotherapy.More info: Osgood Schlatter's Disease

Sinding-Larsen-Johansson Disease

Pain at the lower pole of the knee cap (patella). Overstraining causes Sinding-Larsen-Johansson disease. It is the because of excessive participation in running and jumping sports that the tendon pulls bone off the knee cap. This type of injury responds to reduced activity and physiotherapy.More info: Sinding Larsen Johansson Syndrome

Anterior Knee Pain

Anterior knee pain or patellofemoral syndrome frequently gets passed off as growing pains. Cause of this pain includes overuse, muscle imbalance, poor flexibility, poor alignment, or more commonly, a combination of these. Anterior knee pain is one of the most challenging adolescent knee injuries to sort out and treat. Accurate diagnosis and treatment with the assistance of a physiotherapist with a particular interest in this problem usually resolves the condition quickly.More info: Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Knee Ligaments

The cartilage between the leg bones have a better blood supply and are more elastic in adolescents than in adults. As adolescents near the end of bone growth, their injuries become more adult-like, hence more meniscal and ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries are likely. MCL (medial collateral ligament) injuries result from a lateral blow to the knee. Pain felt on the inner side (medially) of the knee. MCL injuries respond well to protective bracing and conservative treatment.More info: Knee Ligament Injuries

ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries

This traumatic knee injury is significant. Non-contact injuries of the ACL are becoming more common than contact injuries of the ACL. Adolescent females are at high risk. Combination injuries with MCL or menisci are common. Surgical reconstruction is needed if the adolescent wishes to continue participating in "stop-and-start" sports.More info: ACL Injury

Meniscal injuries

Your meniscus is crescent-shaped cartilage between the thigh bone (femur) and lower leg bone (tibia). Meniscal injuries usually result from twisting. Swelling, catching, and locking of the knee are common. If physiotherapy treatment does not resolve these types of damages within six weeks, they may require arthroscopic surgery.More info: Meniscus Tear, Discoid Meniscus

Sever's Disease

Heel pain is commonplace in the young adolescent due to the stresses of their Achilles tendon pulling upon its bony insertion point on the heel (calcaneum). It is a common overuse injury as a result of excessive volume of training and competition, particularly when loads are increased dramatically in a short period. Diminished flexibility and muscle-tendon strength mismatching may predispose you. Physiotherapy, reduced activity, taping and orthotics are some of the best ways to manage this debilitating condition for the active young athlete.More info: Sever's Disease

Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain is probably the most common injury seen in sports. Ankles sprains involve stretching of the ligaments and usually occur when the foot twists inward. Treatment includes active rest, ice, compression and physiotherapy rehabilitation. An ankle sprain usually improves in 2-6 weeks with the correct treatment. Your ankle physiotherapist should check even simple ankle sprains. A residually stiff ankle post-sprain can predispose you to several other lower limb issuesMore info: Sprained Ankle

Patellar Instability

Patellar (kneecap) instability can range from partial dislocation (subluxation) to dislocation with a fracture. Partial dislocation treatment is conservative. Dislocation with or without fracture is a much more severe injury and usually will require surgery.More info: Patella Dislocation

Osteochondritis Dissecans

Separation of a piece of bone from its bed in the knee joint is Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD). This injury is usually due to one major macro event with repetitive macro trauma that prevents complete healing. This injury is potentially severe. Treatment varies from rest to surgery. An Orthopaedic Surgeon's opinion is vital.More info: Juvenile Osteochondritis Dissecans (JOCD)

Growth Plate Fractures

A fracture through the growth plate can be a severe injury that can stop the bone from growing correctly. These fractures should be treated by an Orthopaedic Surgeon, as some will require surgery.

Avulsion Fractures

youth pelvis hip avulsion
Image source: https://radiologyassistant.nl/pediatrics/hip/hip-pathology-in-children
An avulsion fracture occurs when a small segment of bone attached to a tendon or ligament gets pulled away from the main bone. The hip, elbow and ankle are the most common locations for lower limb avulsion fractures in the young sportsperson.Treatment of an avulsion fracture typically includes active rest, ice and protecting the affected area. This period of active rest is followed by controlled exercises that help restore range of motion, improve muscle strength and promote bone healing. Your physiotherapist should supervise your post-avulsion exercises. Most avulsion fractures heal very well.  You may need to spend a few weeks on crutches if you have an avulsion fracture around your hip. An avulsion fracture to your foot or ankle may require a cast or walking boot.In rare cases, an excessive gap between the avulsed bone fragment and main bone may not rejoin naturally. Surgery may be necessary to reunite them. In children, avulsion fractures that involve the growth plates also might require surgery. All avulsion fractures should be reviewed and managed by your trusted physiotherapist or an Orthopaedic Surgeon.For more information regarding your youth sports injury, please consult your physiotherapist or doctor.

Common Youth Leg Injuries

Pelvis & Hip

Knee

Heel & Ankle

Common Youth & Teenager Sports Injuries

Common Youth Neck & Back PainCommon Youth Arm Injuries

Common Youth Arm Injuries

youth sports injuries

Children's Arm Injuries

Children's and Adolescent injuries differ from adult injuries, mainly because the bones are still growing. The growth plates (physis) are cartilaginous (healthy connective tissue) areas of the bones from which the bones elongate or enlarge. Repetitive stress or sudden large forces can cause injury to these areas.

Throwers Elbow

Repetitive overhand throwing can injure a child' elbow. Throwing injuries in the elbow most commonly occur in baseball pitchers, but cricket also has an incidence level.  Any child who participates in repetitive overhand throwing can suffer throwers elbow.The overhand throw creates stresses on the growth areas. If repeatedly overloaded, overhand throwing of the immature elbow may result in excessive strain upon the elbow structures, such as ligaments, cartilage, and growth plates.Medial Apophysitis ("Little Leaguer's Elbow")Medial apophysitis causes pain at the medial epicondyle on the inside of the elbow. Medial apophysitis is a common elbow problem sustained by active children. The bone prominence, called the medial epicondyle, is at the end of the humerus bone and contains a growth plate called the medial apophysis. Muscles that control wrist motion attach to the medial epicondyle and excessive overhand throwing can irritate and inflame the growth plate. Young tennis players can also suffer this injury.Osteochondritis DissecansOsteochondritis dissecans is a common source of lateral elbow pain. The immature bones of the elbow joint can compress from excessive overhand throwing. Small fragments of bone and cartilage may dislodge and potentially float within the joint. Surgery may be required to remove the loose bodies.The key to pain relief is active resting from the aggravating sport. If left untreated, throwing injuries in the elbow can become severe conditions. Depending upon the severity of a child's injury, surgery may be required. If a child's pain continues after a few days of complete rest, please seek the advice of your physiotherapist or doctor.More info: Juvenile Osteochondritis Dissecans

Stress Reaction of Growth Plates (Physis)

Repetitive stress on a child's growth plate (physis) in the arms or legs, if ignored, can impair growth. It can also be painful.Overuse stress reaction may lead to irregularity or widening of the growth plate. If you continue repetitive stress, the growth plate may become permanently damaged and could stop growing prematurely. This premature cessation could lead to a bone deformity.Sports activities that may cause a stress reaction in growth plates to include gymnastics and overhand throwing.Gymnasts perform repetitive wrist activities that can lead to a stress reaction of the growth plate in the distal radius bone.Young baseball pitchers apply forces across the upper arm bone in their shoulders during the overhand throw. They can damage their upper humerus (shoulder bone) growth plate. An abnormal growth plate in an X-ray of a child who participates in a high-risk sport requires Orthopaedic assessment. They may require surgical treatment. Until assessed, they should stop the aggravating activity for at least 2 to 3 months unless your surgeon suggests otherwise.For specific advice, please seek the professional opinion of your physiotherapist or doctor.

Common Youth & Teenager Sports Injuries

Common Youth Neck & Back InjuriesCommon Youth Leg InjuriesCommon Youth Arm Injuries

Why Do Physiotherapists Prescribe You Exercises?

The prescription of exercise appropriate to you and your injury or fitness level is one of the many professional skills of a physiotherapist. Whether you have suffered an acute injury, chronic deconditioning or are recovering from surgery, the correct exercise prescription is essential. That's why your physiotherapist's knowledge and skills will personalise your exercise dose.Your physiotherapist not only is educated in injury diagnosis but also exercise physiology or the science of exercise. This training enables your physiotherapist to assess and diagnose your injury, plus also to prescribe injury, fitness or age-appropriate activities targeted to you now.

What Exercises Should You Do?

Your exercises shouldn't be painful. Please take caution with some overzealous exercise prescribers who believe that the more painful the activity, the better. Thus simply isn't true—notably, the frail, immunosuppressed, deconditioned or post-operative person.You'll find that your physiotherapist will thoroughly examine you and prescribe a series of exercises suitable for you in quantities that will not injure you further. Please seek an exercise expert, such as your physiotherapist, when you are planning your rehabilitation.

What Happens When You Stop Exercises?

Without some simple exercises, we know that specific muscles can become weak. When these supporting muscles are weak, your injured structures are inadequately supported and predispose you to linger symptoms or further injury. You can also over-activate adjacent muscles that may lead to further damage.It is also essential to understand that even if you are "in good shape", you may have crucial but weak localised or stability muscles. When you have an injury, you should perform specific exercises that specifically strengthen the muscles around your injury and the adjacent joints. Your physiotherapist will assess your muscle function and prescribe the right exercises specific for your needs.The exercises prescribed will usually be relatively simple, and do not require any special weights equipment, and can be performed safely at home.

Would You Stop Your Daily Prescription Drugs?

Your physiotherapist will prescribe your individualised dose or exercises. They are using their professional expertise to optimise your exercise dose. Would you just stop taking your regular blood pressure medication because you were too busy or didn't think it was working? We would hope not!Exercise, when prescribed by an expert such as your physiotherapist, should be treated as your recommended dose. Just like when you don't take your blood pressure medication, you can't expect the drugs to work of you don't take it as prescribed by your health professional.So, next time you skip your "exercise dose" just remember that you are not putting your health first. If you have any questions, please contact your Physio Works physiotherapist for your best care.

Private Health Insurance Rebates

PhysioWorks Physiotherapy and Remedial Massage are more affordable than you think. Your Private Health Insurance (PHI) usually pays for the majority of your treatment fees, leaving you with only a small gap payment.

However, Private Health Funds do vary their rebates payable depending upon the level of cover that you have taken. Some funds have kept up with the costs of modern medicine whereas, sadly others haven't, with rebates similar to what they were a decade ago.

HICAPS - Instant Health Fund Claims


Most health funds are members of the HICAPS instant claims system.  Swipe your health insurance card at our reception counter, and you can instantly claim your physiotherapy treatment via our online Hicaps System. Remedial Massage is claimable via Hicaps for some but not all funds. For more information, please visit Hicaps for the latest funds which can use their instant claiming system.

Private health insurance rebates are available for all of our physiotherapists. Instant claims are possible via our in-practice Hicaps system.

Third-Party Insurers

PhysioWorks practitioners are registered providers for government, Workcover and insurance companies including:

  • Workcover
  • InjuryNet
  • Australia Post; Coles Myer; Woolworths
  • Medicare
  • Department of Veterans' Affairs
  • CTP & Sports Insurers
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