Overuse Sport Injuries in Children

Fiona Cheongblog

Physical activity and sports have become an integral part of a child's life. While engaging in sports is beneficial for a child's overall development, there is a rising concern about overuse sport injuries that are affecting children's lower limbs.

Sports Injuries

Overenthusiastic participation, inadequate rest, improper training and stretching techniques are among some of the main contributing factors to these injuries.

This blog will explore the significance of overuse sport injuries in children's lower limbs and provide insights for parents to ensure their children's safety and wellbeing.

Understanding Overuse Sport Injuries

Overuse injuries occur due to repetitive stress on specific body parts, particularly in the lower limbs, without allowing for sufficient recovery time. Unlike acute injuries that result from a single traumatic event, overuse injuries develop gradually over time.

The bones, muscles, tendons and growth plates in children are still developing, making them particularly susceptible to these types of injuries.

Common Overuse Injuries in Children

  1. Shin Splints (also known as medial tibial stress syndrome): Pain along the shinbone (tibia) due to repetitive stress on the muscles and bones in the lower leg.

  2. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome: Pain around the front of the knee, and is often seen in sports that involve jumping, running or squatting.

    3. Achilles Tendonitis: Pain along the back of the heel due to the inflammation of the Achilles tendon due to overused calf muscles.

    4. Stress fractures: Repetitive stress on bones can lead to fractures, commonly seen in the shin and foot bones.

    5. Osgood-Schlatter's Disease: Affects the growth plates in the knee, leading to pain and swelling just below the kneecap, and occurs during growth spurts in active children.

      Preventing Overuse Sport Injuries

      1. Proper training and stretching: Encourage your child to receive proper coaching and training for any sports that they're playing. Emphasise the importance of warm-up and cool-down exercise routines.

      2. Rest and recovery: Resting in between training sessions will allow their bodies to recover and heal, decreasing the risk of suffering from overuse injuries.

      3. Proper footwear: Ensure that your child is wearing sports-appropriate, well-fitting and supportive shoes.

      4. Monitor growth spurts: Keep track of your child's growth spurts as these periods may increase their vulnerability to overuse injuries.

      5. Listen to their bodies: Teach your child to recognise and communicate any discomfort or pain they experience during physical activities. Ignoring early warning signs may exacerbate injuries.

      If your child complains of persistent pain, swelling or limited mobility in their lower limbs, it's important to consult a Podiatrist. Early intervention can prevent minor issues from worsening into more severe conditions, enabling your child to return to their favourite activities as soon as possible.

      Here at The Foot Clinic, all of our Podiatrists are experienced in diagnosing and treating lower limb conditions in children. You can book online here, or give us a call at 9384 3545.