adolescent injuries

Growth Plate Injuries in Adolescents

What are Growth Plate Injuries?

Growth plate injuries, or apophysitis, occurs when there is inflammation and stress to the growth plate due to load from a muscle or tendon. It is commonly seen in children and adolescents who are active. With adults, our growth plates are closed, so any injury to the area would most likely be a tendinopathy. There are growth plates all over your body, so depending on the sport or activity, a different area may be injured. Apophysitis is caused by repetitive, overuse activities such as throwing, jumping and running. Children who are less prepared for the activity (inflexibility or weakness), who push through pain during activity, or are just going through a rapid growth are at risk of injury.

A growth plate injury can take a child out of their sport for 4-6 weeks, depending on the severity. The best way to deal with this injury is to prevent it. Parents, coaches and children should work together to address activity related pain early, and discontinue sport until pain has resolved. Stretching, strengthening and warmups before sports can decrease the risk of injury. It may also be a good idea for a child to avoid specializing in one sport year round. This will provide the child with opportunities to work on a variety of skills, and prevent overuse injuries.

What are Common Areas for a Growth Plate Injury?

  • Osgood Schlatter’s Disease (Knee): where the patellar tendon connects to the shin bone)
  • Sever’s Disease (Heel): where the achilles tendon attaches to the heel,
  • Little League Elbow (Medial elbow): around the medial elblow
  • Little League Shoulder (Shoulder): Around the top of the arm bone where it connects to the shoulder
  • Iliac apophysitis (pelvic bone): around the top of the pelvis
  • Iselin’s disease (foot): around the base of the 5th toe

How can a Physiotherapist / Chiropractor/ Registered Massage Therapist at Lift Clinic Help With a Growth Plate Injury?

Our clinicians are able to do an in depth assessment to determine what may have caused your strain, and also the severity of the injury. This assessment will allow the clinicians to estimate a timeline for your return to sport, and help guide you along the way with an individualized treatment plan. 

The treatment sessions with the clinicians aim to help you reduce pain and swelling; and restore function. They can help to determine the optimal load during your stage of recovery, by providing the right dose of exercise at the right time. They will assess for areas of weakness and/or inflexibility and work to address those areas as the injury recovers. 

Our clinicians can not only treat injury, but also assess for risks of potential injuries and create plans tailored to minimize risk of injury.  For example, we may work with coaches on running technique, throwing technique, lifting techniques or overhead techniques. We may work with athletes, parents and coaches to develop a gradual return to training schedule, and also a long term schedule for load management.

The whole recovery process can take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the severity of the injury. Our goal at Lift Clinic is to help you get back to doing what you need to do sooner and better than before.

Meet Lift Clinic - a team of Vancouver Physiotherapy, Chiropractic and RMT Massage Therapy practitioners who believe in strength and movement for life.

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