Musculoskeletal Development and Sports Injuries in Pediatric Patients
SOURCE: Dynamic Chiropractic
By Deborah Pate, DC, DACBR
Physical activity is extremely important for everyone, but especially for children. A well-designed exercise program enhances the physical and intellectual development of a child. Competitive sports are often a child’s first introduction to programmed exercise.
In the past decade, there has been an increase in the number of children participating in team and solo sports. Younger children are allowed to participate in sports for enjoyment, health and personal development. However, this changes as competitive elements become more dominant and young athletes train harder and longer, and may practice a sport throughout the whole year. Consequently, sports-related injuries in children have significantly increased.
To understand pediatric injuries that can occur during sports performance, it’s important to be aware of the peculiarities of the growing musculoskeletal system. Children’s tendons and ligaments are relatively stronger than the epiphyseal plate; therefore, with severe trauma the epiphyseal plate will give way before the ligament. However, children’s bones and muscles are more elastic and heal faster. At the peak period of adolescent linear growth, the musculoskeletal system is most vulnerable because of imbalances in strength and flexibility and changes in the biomechanical properties of bone.
Physiological loading is beneficial for bones, but excessive strains may produce serious injuries to joints. Low-intensity training can stimulate bone growth, but high-intensity training can inhibit it. Growth plate disturbances resulting from sports injuries can result in limb-length discrepancy, angular deformity or altered joint mechanics, possibly causing permanent disabilities. Sports involving contact and jumping have the highest injury levels.
Pediatric Musculoskeletal Growth
Chiropractors have been uniquely trained to understand the musculoskeletal system, making them excellent resources for the management of sports-injuries. We need only to make certain we are aware of the peculiarities of the pediatric musculoskeletal system when pursuing appropriate evaluation and case management. (more…)