Youth Sports Injuries

Youth & Kids Sports Injuries

John Miller Physiotherapist

Article by John Miller

Youth Sports Injuries

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

Overall, male and female injury rates are becoming equal due to the gradually increasing female participation rate. 40% of all youth (children, teenagers and adolescents) injuries are sports-related. 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 diagnose accurately 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 how much training and game time your child has to detect whether “overtraining” could predispose 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?

The 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 is 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. You may require surgery 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. You may require surgery depending on the severity of a child’s injury. 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 active rest period 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.

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

Stress Reaction of Growth Plates (Physis)

If ignored, repetitive stress on a child’s growth plate (physis) in the arms or legs 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 treatment choice is to 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 team’s starter, and everyone wants them to play. As a parent, you must convey the training volume 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 get in shape and conditioning a month before any team sports begin.
  • Emphasise stretching and flexibility exercises.
  • Start core stability and postural exercises early in life.
  • Ensure 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

Article by Zoe Russell

Sports Physiotherapy FAQs

sports physiotherapist brisbane

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 demands placed upon their bodies, 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, professional assessment and diagnosis of sports injuries, and 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 PhysioWorks physiotherapists and massage therapists are particularly interested in sports injury management.

General Sports Physio FAQs

Injury Management

Sports Massage

Sports Insurance

More Information

Understanding Common Muscle Injuries: A Comprehensive Guide

Muscle pain, also known as myalgia, can result from various causes and can affect different areas of the body. Managing and preventing discomfort requires a clear understanding of these common muscle injuries. This comprehensive guide aims to explore several sources of muscle pain, including injuries in the neck and back, strains in the lower limbs, conditions in the upper limbs, systemic causes, and more.

To provide valuable insights into the management of common muscle injuries, this guide offers answers to frequently asked questions and suggests products that can aid in your recovery. Access additional information about each specific injury by clicking the provided links.

Neck & Back Muscle Injuries

Lower Limb Muscle Injuries

Upper Limb Muscle Injuries

Haematoma-Related Myalgia

Fatigue-Related Myalgia

Systemic Causes of Myalgia

More Information: Myalgia

FAQs & Products

Common Ligament Injuries

Ligament injuries are common in the human body, often causing pain, discomfort, and limitations in mobility.

Various body parts are prone to ligament injuries, such as the knee, ankle, shoulder, wrist, hand, and spine. Among the most prevalent are knee ligament injuries, which include ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) and PCL (Posterior Cruciate Ligament) injuries, as well as MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) and LCL (Lateral Collateral Ligament) sprains.

In addition, ligament injuries can affect other areas, such as the shoulder, leading to AC (Acromioclavicular) joint injuries and dislocated shoulders. Wrist and hand ligament injuries, including thumb and finger sprains, are also common. Furthermore, ligament injuries can occur in the spine, resulting in back and neck sprains and conditions like "text neck" and whiplash. Understanding these common ligament injuries is essential for prevention, early diagnosis, and effective treatment, enabling individuals to regain their functionality and resume their daily activities.

Knee Ligament Injuries

Ankle Ligament Injuries

Shoulder Ligament Injuries

Wrist & Hand Ligament Injuries

Spinal Ligament Injuries

You've just added this product to the cart: