There has been some not-so-great news circulating lately about girls who focus on just one sport. The news piece suggests that they are 30% more likely to suffer an overuse injury than boys who play the same sport.
Stick with us though. There is a bright side to this research says Texas Orthopedics’ Dr. J.P. Rodriguez…
The “new” study evaluated 10,000 adolescent female student athletes who played just one sport. It was determined they were much more at risk for an overuse injury than boys. An overuse injury is one that gradually develops over time versus a specific event that led to the injury. The most common overuse injuries girls experience are ACL tears, tendonitis, and stress fractures.
KXAN-TV asked Dr. Rodriguez about this trend. While he agreed that the research findings were important, he also said that it was important to note that this study was completed years ago. Orthopedists have since been encouraging athletes to take better precautions against overuse injuries, and women have been following suit.
“We haven’t seen as many overuse injuries recently,” said Dr. Rodriguez.
How Are Overuse Injuries Caused?
That doesn’t mean that they are still an issue and something that is seen and treated regularly at Texas Orthopedics. Dr. Rodriguez says most likely causes for overuse injuries in middle and high school athletes are that (1) their bodies are constantly changing as they go through puberty, and (2) they may also be overly enthusiastic about a new sport.
High school athletes tend to be supported by athletic trainers and coaches who encourage injury prevention such as regular stretching, more cross-training involving multiple sports, and building in much-needed rest and recovery times.
“For a while we thought that was the trend,” Dr. Rodriguez said, “but it seems the interventions we’re doing have been working, at least in the last five years.”
Ways parents can help safeguard their student-athletes from overuse injuries is to encourage:
- Stretching and warm-ups before each practice and game
- Resting between intense games and workouts, just like the pros do
- Continuing to train in the off-season to stay flexible and in shape
If you notice your child limping or putting extra pressure on a leg or arm, chances are they might be hurt but don’t want to say anything to avoid having to sit out.
Trust your intuition and seek medical help if you believe they may have been injured on the field—never allow them to play through pain.
For an overuse injury, or any other sports injury, you can schedule an appointment online with one of our orthopedists right here.
The full story on KXAN featuring Dr. Rodriguez is available here.