It’s our job as parents and professionals to be aware of the changes these young athletes are going through and to not push them too hard.
For today’s topic, I’d like to shine a light on a specific type of client we see in our practice: Young athletes.
It’s not uncommon for us to see kids, who are involved in sports, experiencing pain that doesn’t stem from a contact-related injury. It might manifest as muscle strains or be found in the knees, heels, or back. This type of pain comes from a larger cause: growth.
As puberty starts to take effect and young athletes hit their growth spurts, they develop injuries seemingly without a cause—they aren’t necessarily training or playing any harder nor are the injuries occurring while they compete. So what’s the reason behind this?
Well, when a body is growing, the bones grow first. As the bones grow, the attached muscles are now being stretched, and this is the very reason teenagers lack much flexibility; their muscle growth can’t keep up with the pace of bone growth. By virtue of this natural growth process, the muscles are already being torn, and it’s compounded by the extra flexibility and dynamic mobility required for competition.
The other thing that happens is bone growth leads to added mass, and with the extra weight the body is now carrying, the muscles have some catching up to do.
As it concerns these teenage athletes, there are some key points to be aware of and encourage:
They sleep a lot. Their body is both growing and healing, which means they should be sleeping at an above average rate to prevent injury. On top of this, they should be getting lots of fluids, eating properly, and maybe even going to fewer practices in favor of getting more rest.
Some of the common areas of pain are in the ankles, knees, hips, etc., and is most frequently seen in young athletes participating in sports where there’s an emphasis on running.
It’s our job as parents and professionals to be aware of the changes these young athletes are going through and to not push them too hard. In this way, we have to act as the jockey, pulling in the reins on that thoroughbred horse and making sure our kids aren’t overexerting themselves when going through this period of development.
If you have further questions regarding injuries of any kind and at any age, please contact us by phone at 703-372-4445 or visit our website at ChironPtVA.com. We’d love to assist you however we can!