Children and Adolescent Athletes

Sport and Exercise Physicians have specialist knowledge in the management of medical and musculoskeletal conditions in the child and adolescent athlete. Children are not just small adults and they have very different needs to the adult athletic population. This is due to the demands of normal physical growth, biological maturation, behavioural development and the interaction between them. 

The health, fitness and other advantages of youth sports participation are well recognised but certain aspects of growth and maturation may predispose some young athletes to specific injuries involving the immature spine (spondylolysis, spondylolisthesis), joint surfaces (Osteochondritis dissecans/OCD) or tendon to bone attachments (traction apophysitis eg Osgood-Schlatter disease, Sever’s disease).

Child and adolescent athletes may also be subject to overuse injuries that are the consequence of disproportionate training and repetitive loading to one particular area of the body, which may be exacerbated by insufficient rest and recovery. 

If your child complains of pain in a single location multiple times during a sporting season or has pain or injury that doesn’t settle with rest after 2-3 days then it is worthwhile having a consultation with a SEM physician because sometimes further investigations are indicated to rule out more serious injury and in many cases early management strategies can avoid further injury and lengthy time off sport for your child. 

Related links:
ACL injury in the young athlete
Back Injuries of the immature spine
Growth plate injuries
Hip conditions in children and adolescents
Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)
Should young athletes do strength training
Traction apophysitis