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7 Common Childhood Injuries and Problems

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Seven Common Childhood Injuries or Problems



Every child grows and develops at a different rate, with some children experiencing physical and emotional development at an early age whilst others bloom later. Studies show that the African American child tends to mature faster than the Caucasian American child in skeletal age. Studies also show that girls tend to develop quicker than boys especially in relation to their organ development (Tanner, Healy & Cameron, 2001).


For the sake of this article though, research shows that from about the age of six both boys and girls undergo rapid physical and mental changes. Their body grows quickly; they develop friendships and tend to get more involved in organised activities like sports and music. They also undergo strength changes and their muscle coordination improves allowing them to hop, skip and catch a ball.


As a child develops, grows and begins participating in more sporting and social activities there is also an increased chance that they may experience common injuries and growth problems like ankle fractures, knee pain and back soreness. Below I have identified 7 common injuries and problems associated with child and adolescent growth.


Ankle Injuries



ankle injuries






One of the most common injuries experienced by children and adolescence is ankle injuries accounting for more than 30% visits to sports medicine clinics (Mahaffey, Hilts & Fields, 1999). Most of these injuries are ligament sprains and fractures because the surrounding bones of the foot and ankle are still growing. In an adult an ankle injury usually involves muscles because the muscles are the weakest point. In children and adolescence, it is the bone plates in the ankle that are the weakest point because they are still growing and remodelling (Mahaffey, Hilts & Fields, 1999).


Sever’s Disease


Severs disease




Sever’ Disease is inflammation at the heel caused by increased running or jumping. It is an overuse injury where the Achilles heal cord tightens and the dorsiflexor muscles are weak (Omney & Micheli, 1999). Resting the area combined with strengthening exercises for the dorsiflexors and stretching exercises for the Achilles heal cord are recommended.


Osgood-Schlatters Disease



osgood schlatters








Osgood-Schlatters disease is an irritation of the ligaments in the knee. It is caused by growth spurts when the ligament that attaches to the thigh muscles and bones of the knee is placed under stress. Because the bones of the knee are growing and moulding, continual contractions of the quadriceps muscles places stress on the bony parts of the knee causing minute fractures. This can be extremely painful especially if the child is engaged in running, jumping or squatting. Treatment usually involves Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation for a period of 2-3 weeks (Kuajala, Kvist & Heinonen, 1985).


Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease


legg calve








 Legg-Calve-Perthese disease is a condition that mainly affects boys 4-8 years of age. It is an injury of the hip where the blood supply is temporarily interrupted to the ball part of the hip joint (Katz, 1984). It can be painful especially during standing, walking, running or kneeling. Common symptoms include hip, knee and groin pain (Katz, 1984).










 Scoliosis is where the bones of the spine curve from side to side into an S shape. The most common type of Scoliosis is Idiopathic Scoliosis which develops during puberty when the bones are growing and remodelling. Scoliosis can cause mild pain and imbalances in the muscles around the spine and in the back. In severe cases it could cause disfigurement because the bones and muscles are twisted (Weiss, 2003).


Scheuermann’s Disease









 Scheuermann’s Disease is where the vertebrae’s in the spine grow unevenly causing a wedging shape known as Kyphosis. The thoracic vertebrae are rigid causing the top part of the body to hunch forward thus reducing the ability to maintain upright posture. Scheuermann’s Disease causes lower and mid level neck and back pain which can be debilitating. In mild cases physical therapy or back braces are used to reverse the effects. Surgery maybe considered for more severe cases (Weiss, Dieckmann & Gerner 2002).


Shoulder Instability


shoulder instability




 Children are prone to shoulder injuries especially if they are participating in activities that require repetitive motion like swimming, baseball or tennis. Because the bones in the shoulder joint are growing and developing, repetitive exercise can cause fractures, dislocations to joints as well as damage to ligaments, tendons and muscles. Shoulder instability occurs when the shoulder is put through extreme ranges of motion (for example baseball which requires repetitive throwing), stretching the capsule and ligaments of the shoulder joint. Overtime these structures loosen and as a result struggle to hold the shoulder joint in place (Nicholas, Hershman & Posner, 1995). Common treatments for shoulder instability include rest, ice, modifications to repetitive action as well as physical therapy.










Tanner JM, Healy MJR, Goldstein H, Cameron N. 2001. Assessment of Skeletal Maturity and Prediction of Adult Height (TW3 Method). 2nd edition.WB Saunders, London pp110.


Mahaffey D, Hilts M, Fields KB. Ankle and foot injuries in sports. Clinics in Family Practice 1999;1(1):233–50.


Omney ML, Micheli LJ. Foot and ankle problems in the young athlete. Med Sci Sports Exercise 1999;31(Suppl 7):S470–86.


Kujala UM, Kvist M, Heinonen O (1985). "Osgood-Schlatter's disease in adolescent athletes. Retrospective study of incidence and duration". Am J Sports Med 13 (4): 236–41.

Weiss H.F. (2003). "Rehabilitation of adolescent patients with scoliosis – What do we know? A review of the literature". Pediatric Rehabilitation 6 (3): 183–194.

Katz, Jacob (1984). Legg–Calve-Perthes-Disease. New York: Praeger.


Weiss HR, Dieckmann J, Gerner HJ (2002). "Effect of intensive rehabilitation on pain in patients with Scheuermann's disease". Stud Health Technol Inform. 88: 254–7.



Nicholas JA, Hershman EB, Posner MA, eds. The Upper Extremity in Sports Medicine. 2nd ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 1995.

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