Year-round practices, games, and competitions can make being an athlete very physically demanding, which can put players at risk of injuries. One of the most common sports injuries involves the knee due to all the running and jumping involved in nearly all sports. Your child’s dedication to sports that involve high impact and collisions may lead to a higher frequency of injuries. What’s fortunate is that young athletes often recover quickly from most knee injuries, but on the flip side, frequent injuries can lead to chronic knee problems and early arthritis.
Signs and Symptoms of Knee Injury
As a parent, look out for the signs and symptoms of a knee injury in your active child:
- Difficulty bending the knee
- Inability to bear weight on the affected knee
These symptoms don’t necessarily develop right after an injury. If your child complains of these symptoms even when resting or after working out, it could mean an underlying condition or injury exists.
The Most Common Knee Injuries in Young Athletes
Injuries commonly seen in young athletes include:
A fracture is a break in a bone due to greater pressure being placed on the bone than what it can handle. What’s particularly risky about fractures in younger people is that their bones are still growing. The fracture might be in a growth plate, which is more sensitive to injury. A fractured growth plate can stop the bone from growing properly. If your child is unable to bear weight on the knee, their growth plate may be affected, in which case it needs immediate treatment.
Since practice and games take place all year round, young athletes are susceptible to overuse injuries. Osgood-Schlatter disease is an inflammation of the patellar ligament that causes a painful bump below the knee. Growing adolescents are prone to this due to the rapid growth of their bones. It requires rest and activity modification to heal from this injury. Another type of overuse injury is Sindig-Larsen-Johansson disease and is characterized by irritation to the growth plate in the knee as a result of repeated stress on the growth plate. Taking a break from sports for a few weeks and physical therapy will help heal the injury. Lastly, Patellofemoral pain syndrome or runner’s knee is another overuse injury caused by repetitive bending and straightening of the knee.
Ligament and Cartilage Injuries
Common knee injuries in young athletes include ligament and cartilage overstretching or tears. Just as in adults, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or medial collateral ligament (MCL) in young athletes may tear as a result of a bad landing, forceful twisting, or collision. These are more serious injuries that often co-occur with meniscus tears. Sprained ligaments may be treated conservatively, but tears may require surgery.
Orthopedic Doctor in North Dakota
Young athletes want to return to their sports as soon as possible. An orthopedic doctor specializing in sports injuries is the kind of specialist you need to treat your child’s injuries effectively and efficiently, so they can get back in the game in better shape than ever. Our orthopedic doctors at The Bone & Joint Center are experts in treating knee injuries in young athletes.
To schedule a consultation with an orthopedic doctor, call (701) 946-7400 / (866) 900-8650 or use our convenient online form.