• Vol. 37 No. 4, 315–319
  • 15 April 2008

Common Lower Limb Sports-related Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes



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Introduction: Sports injuries in children and adolescent present a unique challenge to the physician. They are often seen for clinical conditions unique to their age group. This paper highlights the epidemiological aspect of sports-related overuse injuries in this age group.

Materials and Methods: This retrospective study reviewed all the paediatric patients diagnosed with overuses injuries during a 5 years and 7 months period. The overuse injuries were anterior superior iliac spine avulsion fracture, Osgood-Schlatter disease, Sinding-Larson-Johansson disease, osteochondritis dissecan and Sever’s disease. We reviewed the literature and attempted to give an overview for each condition and the anatomical differences that contributed to their occurrence in this age group.

Results: A total of 506 cases of the overuse injuries were seen during the study period. Seventy-three per cent were male patients. The knee joint was the commonest affected joint while the hip was the least affected joint. The mean age at diagnosis was younger in female compared to male for all conditions except in Sinding-Larson Johansson syndrome. Female was diagnosed at a mean age of 11.7 years while male at 10.8 years. Osgood-Schlatter disease was the commonest among the overuse injuries. There was no discernible racial predilection for these conditions except in the patients with anterior superior iliac spine avulsion.

Conclusions: Overuse injuries are not uncommon in children and adolescent. An adequate understanding of the anatomy of the sports the children participated in as well as the anatomical differences between adult and children may assist the primary care providers better meet parents’ and coaches’ expectations.

Treating sports injuries in children and adolescent presents a unique challenge to the physician. They are different anatomically and physiologically from adults.

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