Overuse Injuries in Youth Sports (page 2)

Overuse Injuries in Youth Sports

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Updated on May 3, 2013

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Symptoms may include aches, pain, swelling, bruising and decreased performance, Dr. Mares says. Diagnosis includes a careful history and a complete physical. X-rays or an MRI may also be necessary.

While treatment varies depending on the type and severity of the injury, Dr. Mares says it should include some level of rest and backing off a particular activity. He notes that other treatment options may include the following:

  • Ice  
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Compression  
  • Elevation
  • Possible bracing/immobilization
  • Eventual rehabilitation
  • Progressive return to activity when appropriate


Fortunately, overuse injuries can be prevented by adhering to the following guidelines furnished by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:

  • Replace worn athletic shoes.
  • Make sure that clothes are light enough to release body heat. Wear removable layers when exercising in cold weather.
  • Always warm up, even before stretching, since this will loosen up muscles and joints.
  • Prevent dehydration and heat stroke by drinking a pint of water 15 minutes before exercising. Drink water every 20 minutes while exercising, and drink another pint after cooling down.
  • Cool down by lessening exercise intensity at least 10 minutes before stopping completely.
  • Don’t exercise every day. Give the body time to rest. Also, don’t exercise when fatigued, sore or in pain.

“Parents help their kids avoid overuse injuries by understanding what an overuse injury is and how it can be prevented,” says Dr. Mares. “They need to be an advocate for their child.” He also recommends STOP Sports Injuries and Safe Kids USA as two of the many campaigns that can serve as a valuable resource to parents, coaches and physicians.

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