Boom Bust Cycle in Young Children and adolescents

40% of all youth (children, teenager and adolescents) injuries are sports-related. Overall, male and female injury rates are becoming equal due to a gradually increasing female participation rate. Injuries related to sports participation fall into two types of trauma:

• Macro (due to a single traumatic event eg fracture)
• Micro (due to repetitive overuse trauma).

Injuries in the young athlete are often trivialised. They are usually asked or encouraged to “toughen up and play through the pain”. This approach is not in the young athlete’s best interest for the following reasons:

• It often leads to delayed healing and return to sports
• It can turn an easily treatable injury into one that becomes difficult to treat and in some cases; it can result in a permanent injury that precludes sports participation.

An accurate diagnosis is essential. Your physiotherapist can make the diagnosis via the injury history and performing a physical examination. While special tests can be helpful, in certain circumstances an accurate diagnosis can be made 90% of the time by taking a good history and performing a systematic examination of the injuries area.

Boom Bust Cycle

Going back to the focal area of topic, most overuse injuries, such as stress fractures, Osgood Schlatters Disease and tendonitis, are preventable or at least manageable. It is important to decrease the child’s activity levels until you seek medical intervention. Total rest is not always the right option for a period of time as this can be detrimental to the individual as the body response quicker to inactivity than activity. Muscles have the potential to waste away quicker than build muscle bulk which may hinder recovery and rehabilitation.

Preventable strategies

• Allow your child/children play at their own pace.

• Encourage your child to start getting into shape and conditioning a month or so before any team sports are to begin

• Emphasize stretching and flexibility exercises

• Correct footwear and equipment are fitted correctly

• Ensure a good warm up and cool down are done

• Seek help from an experienced physiotherapist on preventative and recovery strategies that have worked with children and in a sporting environment.

More on our Boom Bust Cycle soon…..