Overuse Injuries in Youth Sports—Prevention during the sports season

What is an overuse injury?

Overuse injuries can occur gradually over time with a repetitive activity. When an athlete continually uses the same muscle groups, it can cause stress to that specific area of the body and lead to injury. Overuse injuries can affect the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and growth plates of young athletes.

Common symptoms of overuse injuries

  • Pain that is not tied to an acute injury
  • Pain that increases with activity
  • Swelling
  • Changes in form or technique
  • Decreased interest in practice and play

The importance of sports periodization

Sports and organized athletics can be greatly beneficial for kids, promoting physical health, team bonding, and motivation at a young age. It is important to remember that overtraining and improper technique can lead to injury, so following a training program that adds variation can help your child now and in the future.

Sports periodization involves breaking up a training program into cycles in order to control intensity and add variation to avoid repetitive stress on the body and overall burnout.

Depending on your child’s sport, the coaches or athletic trainers may suggest different training programs and phases. However, if you’re concerned that your child isn’t receiving the proper training he or she needs, don’t hesitate to speak to a professional.

Avoiding sport specialization

Allowing your child to participate in a variety of sports and athletic activities can help them discover what they enjoy on their own. When parents place a great deal of pressure on their child to succeed in a single sport, the risk of overuse injuries and early burnout is high.

In many cases, the skills a child learns in other sports can help him or her become a better overall athlete.