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Moving Toward Better Health

The official blog of Konicki Schumacher Chiropractic


Young Athletes Too Specialized

Posted by Dr. Tom Konicki
Dr. Tom Konicki
Dr. Thomas Konicki earned his B.S. in Biology at the University of Cincinnati and then went on to the Los Ange...
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in Women and Children

There is a trend for American young athletes to become very specialized in their sports at a young age. Unfortunately, this repetitive training can lead to overuse injuries.

There is an estimated 30-45 million youth participating in organized sports. Annually, more than 3.5 million young athletes seek treatment for sports-related injuries.

Many sports require almost year-round training. Soccer and swimming have only a few short weeks off in a year for the more serious participants.

Years ago, kids played a variety of sports throughout the year. This provided natural cross-training, working some muscle groups and resting others. Doctors did not see the overuse problems more common now.

Studies show that only 8-10% of all sports injuries result from trauma. The rest of all sports injuries are due to overuse.

Dr. Phillip Santiago, a leading sports chiropractor describes 4 phases of overuse injuries:
1. Feeling ache and soreness after activities.
2. Aches and pains towards the end of activity.
3. Intense or frequent pain during activity which affects performance.
4. Feeling pain all the time, even during rest.

Most athletes ignore phase 1 and 2. They assume pain will go away and they also do not want to tell the coach, for fear of losing play time.

By stage 3 or 4, the athletes can not continue with their sport and recovery will take longer.

Many of these overuse injuries cause muscle strains, tendinitis and ligament sprains. Most of these will recover completely if handled correctly.

However, more serious injuries can occur at the growth plate of bones. Young bones are not fully formed and are easier to damage.

Another type of bone injury is called an avulsion fracture. This is when a small piece of bone is ripped away by the tendon.

One of the most important parts of treatment is diagnosing the avulsion fracture correctly. X-rays may not show it. CT scans or MRI may be needed.

These injuries require several weeks of rest and a proper gradual return to the sports activity.

Another more serious injury is stress fractures in various bones. A common one occurs in the feet, especially with runners and soccer players.

Young teenage boys and girls are susceptible to stress fractures in the lumbar spine (low back). Again, repetitive pounding such as in gymnastics, cheerleading, soccer, running and football creates these tiny fractures that will cause persistent pain.

As a parent, I hope to raise healthy, happy children who enjoy playing sports. I hope that exercise will be a part of their lives well into adulthood. Now is my time to make sure that can happen!

Information from American Chiropractic Association.

Copyright © 2008 - Konicki Schumacher Chiropractic. All rights reserved.

Dr. Tom Konicki is a board certified chiropractic orthopedist and has practiced for many years in South Dayton. You can reach him at www.kschiro.com or mail your questions to Ask the Chiropractor, 2165 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Dayton, Ohio 45459.

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