Health Tips

Preventing Overuse Injuries

Any parent of a child involved in organized sports will tell you about the rigorous schedules of practices and games, the emotional highs and disappointing lows. But what parents might not know about is the risk of overuse injuries.

What are overuse injuries and who's at risk?

girl looking up wondering An overuse injury is damage to the bone, muscle, ligament or tendon due to repeated stress and insufficient healing time. Tendonitis, bursitis and stress fractures are some examples of overuse injuries. Children and teens are especially vulnerable to overuse injuries because their bones are still growing. Younger athletes also might not know what an overuse injury feels like, and, therefore, are less likely to stop the activity causing the problem.

Studies have found that young athletes who play more hours per week than their age — for instance, a 10-year-old who plays more than 10 hours a week — are more likely to be injured. Young athletes whose time playing organized sports is twice that of free play are also more likely to suffer from overuse injuries.

How to keep your child injury free

If your child plays sports, here are a few guidelines you should follow to help keep him injury free.

Reviewed by: Patrick S. Pasquariello Jr., MD
Date: December 2013

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