What we’ll cover
  1. What is the cause?
  2. What are the symptoms of children sporting injuries?
  3. What causes children sporting injuries?
  4. What should I do if my child has as sporting injury?

Children and sporting injuries

Did you know that approximately 40% of child or adolescent musculoskeletal injuries are sports related? Often these injuries are trivialised which commonly result in longer recovery time and further delay and time spent away from sport. Physiotherapists can accurately diagnose your child’s injury by performing a thorough assessment which includes listening to your child’s injury history and a clinical examination. Our physiotherapist Tegan Skipworth looks into two common adolescent sporting injuries Osgood Schlatters and Severs disease.

children and sporting injuries

What is the cause?

When adolescents go through periods of growth the long bones within the body such as the thigh and shin develop in length before the surrounding muscles.  During this time, new bone is laid down in regions called the growth plate, or the epiphyseal plate. Each long bone has two growth plates, one located at each end of the bone  allowing for new bone growth. The initial structures are weak but they remodel and get stronger over time. Once adolescents have stopped growing the plate is replaced by an epiphyseal line after growth plate fusion has occurred. On average, this complete fusion occurs between the ages of 12-16 for girls, and 14-19 for boys.

Very near these growth plates are the attachment sites for surrounding muscles and tendons. An Apophysis is a naturally occurring bony protuberance that is site for tendon attachment. When we repetitively contract a muscle it’s tendinous attachment pulls on the bone and can cause irritation and inflammation to the surrounding area. This type of injury is called a traction apophysitis. It can only occur in children and adolescents as the bony is not full matured. In extreme cases, repetitive high forces can result in an avulsion fracture, an injury where the tendon insertion has actually pulled off some of the bone.

Children and adolescents that are most at risk of traction apophysitis injuries are those that are extremely active. Sports involving high levels of running and jumping are the most common causes.

What are the symptoms of children sporting injuries?

Generally your child will experience a gradual onset of pain. There will be no clear mechanism of injury or specific moment in time as to when the pain started. Symptoms will always be aggravated by sports or physical activity and will usually be eased by periods of rest.

It often correlates with a return to sport, significant increase in total volume of sport, and a recent growth spurt.

The most commonly affected areas are the front of the knee and the back of the heel. The muscles that attach to these regions, the quadriceps and the calf respectively, are muscles that produce significant amounts of power during activities such as running and jumping. Children will almost certainly have pain on palpation over the bony part at the top of the shin, and / or the most prominent part at the back of the heel. These injuries, Osgood Schlatters (knee) and Severs (heel), usually occur separately, although it is possible for the them to occur simultaneously.

What causes children sporting injuries?

  • Exercise technique or co-ordination
  • Reduced flexibility
  • Biomechanical factors, e.g foot posture
  • Footwear

What should I do if my child has as sporting injury?

It is recommended to seek professional advice for a thorough assessment and diagnosis of your child’s pain. It is necessary to distinguish relevant contributing factors as they may be different for each individual.

Usually treatment will involve a period of offload (reducing sport or physical activity) and addressing contributing biomechanical factors. Taping techniques may be used as part of offloading or pain management strategies.

A full return to sport can be expected but often the timeframe can be variable. Therefore it is important that they have a graded return to full activity as advised by their treating practitioner.

Our team at Malvern East Physiotherapy work closely with a number of junior sporting associations and teams. If your child is experiencing a sporting injury, call us today or book online.

Follow us
on instagram

Back to school 🔙📚

Last week we were fortunate enough to head back to uni and refresh our anatomy knowledge at @latrobeuni in the anatomy labs. 

Thank you to the Latrobe School of Physiotherapy for inviting us! Last week our team celebrated another great year. 

Whilst Melbourne’s weather had its own plans, we were still determined to keep with the theme of ‘Italian Summer’. We let our hair down to master the art of mixology 🍸🍹followed by an Italian feast. Friday morning Run Club with the team. Practicing what we preach!

Staying stronger, healthier and happier. This time last week, our team was nervously completing their final preparations for @melbmara . 

Congratulations to our physiotherapists and ME community who ran on the day.

Dilen and Michael completed their first marathons. Abbey and Lizzie smashed out their first half. Last Sunday, our team headed down to see our own Matt Warren win a premiership in the VAFA Premier Men’s Competition. Last week our team dedicated a full day to professional development and team building. At ME Physio we pride ourselves on collaboration to put you at the centre of everything we do. 

Our team covered the latest treatments for back pain, financial well-being and finished off the day with salsa dancing. 

Many thanks to our guests including James Schomburgk from @the2ndvisitphysio , Financial Planners Tony Vikram & Cameron Bishop and the @salsafoundation At ME Physio, our focus is on helping you get stronger so that you can keep doing the things you love.

For Tony and Joan, healthier and stronger is being able to navigate the iconic Coast to Coast Walk in the UK! We recently had the pleasure of hosting Elise Bujor from Women’s & Men’s Health Physiotherapy to discuss women’s health issues across the lifespan. 

Our team pride themselves on staying up to date to ensure you’re able to stay healthier, happier and stronger. Huge milestones over the past few weeks with both Tom and Jude from @delasallefc doing their first bit of running in their rehab. 

Tom is on the return from an ankle dislocation whilst Jude is putting in the hard work following a knee reconstruction. Last week our team enjoyed some friendly rivalry at the footy. 

With finals around the corner, some of our team can now safely make holidays plans for September. We recently had the pleasure of hosting the podiatry team from @sespodiatry. 

Our physiotherapists Michael and Abbey presented on rehabilitation following Achilles surgical repair and ankle surgery. Last weekend some of our team got together to complete the 10 km run @runmelbourne. There was no finish line picture as some were keen to run another 15 km!

Whilst running wasn’t for some - brunch was well received by everyone.

You Deserve to Feel Good.

Enter your email below to subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with clinic news and the latest tips and advice from our team of physiotherapists.