Up to 50 percent of all injuries seen in pediatric sports medicine are related to overuse. The growing bones and muscles of a young athlete cannot handle as much stress as mature adult bones.
What is an Overuse Injury?
A micro-traumatic injury to a bone, muscle or tendon that has been subjected to repetitive stress without sufficient time to heal or undergo the natural healing process.
Tips to Avoid Overuse Injuries
- Limit training to one team during a season.
- Train a maximum of five days per week, taking at least one to two days off from competitive athletics, sport-specific training and competitive practice.
- Take time off from one sports for two to three months per year allowing muscles to recover from repetitive work, or injuries to heal.
- Between sports training, work on strength and conditioning, helping to reduce future injuries.
Watch for Burnout Symptoms
Young athletes also need a psychological break to avoid burnout and overtraining. If your young athlete is experiencing some of these symptoms, it might be time for a break.
- Chronic or non-specific muscle or joint pain
- Personality changes
- Decreased sport or academic performance
- Lack of enthusiasm about practice or competition
- Saying things like, "Everything hurts." or "I don't want to go."