“Pain is temporary, pride is forever. ” This quote represents what thousands of young athletes are going through daily. Many adolescents who are working hard to become the best in their league are now falling short due to overuse injuries. With childhood obesity increasing, U. S. citizens have overlooked the overuse injuries that affect the active youth. In 2003 more than 3. 5 million children under age 15 suffered a sports injury that required medical treatment, thats about one attended injury for every 10 players, and seventy-five percent of those injuries were the result of overuse (Hyman, 2009).
Overuse injuries occur over a long peroid of time and occur after repetitive micro trama to th tendons, The human body has the tremendous capability to adapt to physical stress. However if the body is put under to much stress without the proper amount of rest injury can occur. The most common injury that occurs from this is an overuse injury these include tennis elbow, runners knee, and shin splints. There are three main factors that are contributing to young athletes getting an overuse injury. The first factor is that these young athletes are being trained by parents and coaches who have no background in sports.
These inexperienced coaches are providing the young athletes with improper training techniques, which can result in injury. Another factor that is leading to overuse injuries is the amount of pressure being placed on the athlete by coaches and peers. Wether it is a coach teaching their athletes to play through the pain, or parents pressuring their children so they can live vicariously through them, the well being of these young athletes is getting overlooked. The final factor stems from the previous two factors. Coaches are pressuring athletes to become specialized meaning they only participate in one sport.
While this alone is not an issue, whats wrong with this is they are being improperly trained year round and rarely are given the rest needed to stay healthy. In the article Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes Doctor James H. Johnson addresses one of the issues with sport specialization “Young athletes who specialize in just one sport may be denied the benefits of varied activity while facing additional physical, physiologic, and psychologic demands from intense training and competition’’(Johnson, 2005) The effects of the injuries are at first relatively minor.
The athlete could get something like runners knee, which is inflammation of the knee joint. If allowed the proper healing time the pain will subside and the athlete can continue training. However if the athlete does not take the rest needed it could lead to getting stress fractures in the bone. These types of fractures can be extremely painful and may take months to fully heal. The effects of these injuries are serious for all athletes, but for the young growing athletes these injuries could lead to bigger problems. For example the stress fractures could effect the growth plate in some athletes.
According to Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes the growth cartilage is most vulnerable to repeated micro traumas. This could lead to certain muscles developing faster than the bones they are attached to. Forcing them to attach to a different part of the bone, constricting it and not allowing it to grow properly(Johnson, 2005) Another damaging cause of overuse injuries is arthritis while overtime everyone will at one time get arthritis of some sort in the joints, for those athletes who have sustained many overuse injuries may obtain it at a much younger age.
According to the article Until It Hurts many doctors find it very frustrating to see these types of injuries in athletes because with taking the proper precautions while training the risk of getting an overuse injury can be almost eliminated (Hyman, 2009). The treatment for overuse injuries depends on the specific diagnosis. For minor symptoms, reducing the intensity, duration or frequency of training brings relief. switching to a different workout schedule and cross training with other activities that allows the athlete to maintain fitness while the injured area recovers.
This is very important for treating the early symptoms of overuse injuries. Working with a coach or teacher or taking lessons can assure proper training and technique. Paying particular attention to proper warm up before activity and using ice after activity may also help. Aspirin or other over the counter anti-inflammatory medications can also be taken to relieve symptoms. If symptoms persist, a sports medicine specialist will be able to create a more detailed treatment plan for the athletes specific condition.
This may include a thorough review of the training program and an evaluation for any predisposing anatomic or bio-mechanical factors. Physical therapy and athletic training services may also be helpful. Overuse injuries are one hundred percent preventable, athletes need only take a few important steps to be able to train risk free. The first step is to not do to much to soon, when first starting a sport it is important to start slowly and allow the body time to adjust to that activity.
It is best to start out with a warm up before the athlete starts training. starting out with stretches allows the muscles to relax more and it increases blood flow, which helps with support so not as much stress is being placed on the bones. The article Preventing Overuse Injuries, explains proper stretching technique, “Do not bounce with each exercise. Stretch until you feel tension but not pain”(Preventing overuse injuries, 2010) Stretching is key for a healthy work out, there are many different stretches that can be done.
It is best to find stretches that are geared toward the athletes specific sport. Another key point is if any significant pain is felt during training stop. also it helps to do a cool down after training is finished followed by stretching again. If there is any soreness after training is finished the athlete should stretch that area out specifically and then ice it down and possibly take an anti-inflammatory. If athletes were taught these easy steps overuse injuries could be cut down drastically.
References Hyman. (2009, april 07). Until it hurts. Retrieved from http://sportsillustrated. cnn. com/2009/more/04/06/youthsports. untilithurts/index. html Johnson, H. (2008, April). Overuse injuries in young athletes. Retrieved from http://www. hscoaches. org/docs/Over_use_injuries. pdfPreventing overuse injuries. (2010). Retrieved from http://familydoctor. org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/exercise-fitness/sports-safety/-preventing-overuse-injuries. html
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