Adolescent Overuse Injuries

Two teenage girls playing basketball in the park

With winter sports well underway and with summer sports ever-looming, it is important to keep an eye on our young ones. With the combination of school sport and club sport (usually playing different codes), kids can start to run into an array of different problems.

Unfortunately, adolescent overuse conditions like Patellar Femoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), Osgood Schlatter’s, and Sever’s Disease can develop. These conditions usually occur following increased bouts of exercise or repeated high exposure to training loads.

As a result of these conditions, pain tends to occur around or below the knee and the heel of the foot, respectively.

We think that these issues might be related to abnormal musculoskeletal growth changes, lower limb tightness, and weaknesses, changes in biomechanics, and high training loads.

The good news is that these conditions can be easily treated by your Physiotherapist, Exercise Physiologist, or Podiatrist.

Treatment Is Usually Aimed Around:

  • Addressing loading/ Training errors: Sometimes too much too soon runs the risk of aggravating these issues.
  • Implementing exercises to address any weakness, restrictions in range of motion, or control.
  • Advice and education.
  • Hands-on treatment to help reduce symptoms, improve range of motion.
  • Taping and/ or orthotics

Prevention is always the best cure – Jacob Payne, TRS Physiotherapist

Try and implement the following tips to reduce the risk of these injuries occurring:

Load Management

Easing into a new season or training program can prevent overload. Doubling up on big training sessions and not allowing your body to recover is a risk factor for overload, resulting in injuries.

Prehab: Warm-up & Warm down

Spending 10-15 mins pre-training/ games starting with mobility and slowly building higher intensity drills, leading to sports-specific drills, has been shown to reduce injury risk and improve performance.

Warm down following training and games is a nice way to reduce your heart rate, cool tissue, and work on maintaining joint and muscle mobility. You can also combine with a gentle stretch for 3-5 minutes.

Strength and Range of Motion

Maintaining joint range of motion and muscular strength can be a great wait to reduce the risk of overuse injuries. The idea is that you improve your strength enough that you are able to tolerate and deal with the stressors or loads placed on your body.

Consulting your physio or exercise physiologist is a great way to develop a program you can implement into your training routine.

Rest or Relative Rest

Plenty of sleep, good nutrition, and rest periods are all good ways to make sure your body has recovered and ready to exercise again.

Rest or Relative Rest (performing another lighter task/ exercise) is important for tissue recovery and adaptation to occur to muscles and tendons. 1-2 days between higher intensity exercises can be enough.

Still, experiencing problems?

If you have tried some of the above tips and your child is still experiencing symptoms, it would a good idea to consult your allied health specialist, They can help to formulate a specific management plan. It is important to not make your child exercise through pain.

 

Written by Total Rehab Solutions Physiotherapist, Jacob Payne