Common Lower Extremity Injuries in Youth Athletes
By Craig J. Mawdsley, PT, DPT, COMT, FAAOMPT and Ellen Welter, DPT, COMT, CNN
Fall is upon us and that means the return to school, regular schedules and, of course, fall sports! Athletes often return to competitive sports as a higher level which brings the added risk of injuries from under training and single-sport focused training. After a relaxing summer, being thrust into daily practice and competition can be a lot for a growing body.
According to SAFE Kids Worldwide, in the United States alone, over 30 million athletes participate in some form of organized sport. Of those, 3.5 million sustain injuries with sprains and strains being the most common.
Anterior Knee Pain
• Osgood-Schlatter: Pain just below the knee cap, increasing with repetitive impact activities, related to growth during adolescence.
• Patellofemoral Syndrome: Pain related to poor tracking of the knee cap due to hip/knee weakness, foot pronation or other muscular imbalances.
Anterior Leg Pain
- Shin Splints: Pain in the anterior lower leg which increases with repetitive impact activities. This is related to a quick change in amount of activity, most commonly running. Sprain of Ligaments Ligaments are the tough fibrous tissue that connects bones. There are ligaments at each joint and spraining them results in joint laxity or looseness. The most common joint sprained is the ankle joint, but knees, elbows and shoulders are often other areas of common ligament sprains.
- The British Journal of Medicine’s recently released guideline for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of ankle sprains recommends recovery with physical therapy. Not only does therapy help reduce initial pain and inflammation, but specific exercises will reduce the chance of developing chronic ankle instability (CAI). Therapy can help immeidately after injury to reduce swelling, decrease pain, and allow for a faster recovery than if therapy is delayed.
- Strain of Muscle
Muscle strains are common with forceful exertion during exercise and can occur after improper warm up or after a time
of inactivity. Muscle strains, similar to ligamentous strains, heal much better with rehabilitation by a physical therapist.
- A recent study from the Scandinavian Journal of Medical Science and Sports, stresses that early rehabilitation accelerated recovery for athletes with a severe acute strain in the thigh or calf muscle.
What can Clarity do for your young athlete?
At Clarity our team of orthopedic specialists can identify the source of the injury, implement a plan of recovery, and help
prevent future injuries. Early and an aggressive rehabilitation helps the athlete return to the sport quickly and safely.
If your athlete is reporting an issue or if you are observing one, don’t hesitate to schedule your appointment today! Call to schedule a Free Injury Screen: 708-505-3900