Pre-season Training & Young Athletes
Hard to believe with the recent hot weather, but pre-season training for winter sports is upon us already, and with this comes an increase in the number of younger athletes we see at Jurien Bay Physio with injuries that come from overuse – usually doing too much, too soon, this is especially relevant in young athletes who are undergoing rapid periods of growth.
Too Much – Too Fast
Returning to school and sport after the summer break can see a rapid increase in physical activity, this, combined with growing muscles and bones is often why many kids present to us with a variety of musculoskeletal issues during Pre-season.
It is recommended that training load should be tailored to meet the requirements of the child and increased or decreased no more than 10-15% per week. Changes outside these guidelines have been shown to have a significant increase in injury risk. (Windt,J & Gabbett, T, 2017)
Two of the most common issues we see are
• Sever’s Disease (Calcaneal Apophysitis): A common cause of heel pain in active children caused by inflammation of the growth plate of the heel (calcaneus) due to excessive loading, most commonly during adolescence.
• Osgood Schlatter’s Disease (Tibial Tuberosity Apophysitis): Inflammation of the growth plate at the top of the tibia (shin bone) at the insertion of the Patella tendon.
Both these conditions are caused by too much load or traction at the tendon insertion into the bone. Although painful, they are NOT diseases, but conditions where the body responds to the increased loading by producing inflammation. If this persists, the body can lay down calcium in an attempt to reduce the loading, this can be seen or felt as a small lump on the bone.
It is important to note that the amount of pain does NOT equal the amount of damage, but is a signal to reduce the loading and seek advice to ensure best management.
Both these conditions are usually self-limiting, resolving over time as your child grows. They responding well to good management and recovery can take from several weeks to several years, each case is different.
If you suspect your child has developed a musculoskeletal problem, physiotherapists are experts at assessment and diagnosis of many issues affecting young athletes, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have.
As every child is different, a thorough assessment will enable us to provide you with the best, evidence-based management program to ensure the fastest return to activity.
This can include advice regarding training load and rest, stretches, exercises, taping, footwear,orthotic prescription & pain management advice.
We consider many factors including
• Training load • Biomechanics • Footwear • Muscle strength and muscle length • Joint function and range of movement • Coordination and stability
So, if your little athlete is complaining of pain or issues with their training performance, contact us so we can help get them back on track and enjoying their sport!
Jurien Bay Physio 96521132