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Study: Highly Specialized Young Athletes are Prone to Hip and Knee Injuries

Knee InjuriesAll types of sports can cause injury from trauma of contact or collision with other players, or due to overuse or misuse of a body part. Sudden and overuse injuries are quite common among young athletes, more so because they tend to be very competitive at their sports and keen not to miss a race or a match. Unlike adults, they also may not pay enough attention to taking rest after an injury.

A new study has found that young athletes who specialize in a single sport are at a higher risk for injury, especially hip and knee injuries. The results of the study may not come as a surprise to physical therapists and pain management doctors who typically advise young athletes to diversify their exercise or play as many sports as possible to avoid injury. The study was published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine in February 2016.

The small study was based on a specialization survey and an injury history survey of 302 high school athletes between the ages of 13 and 18 years from 2 local high schools. Athletes were grouped into low, moderate, or high specialization categories and were also grouped using a self-classification method. The researchers found that:

  • Athletes in the high specialization group were more likely to report a history of overuse knee injuries compared with moderate or low specialization athletes.
  • Those who trained in one sport for more than 8 months out of the year were more likely to report a history of knee injuries, overuse knee injuries, and hip injuries.
  • There were no differences in the history of hip, knee, or ankle injuries among high school athletes who played a single sport as compared to those in the multisport category.
  • Participation in a single sport for more than 8 months per year seemed to be an important factor in the higher injury risk noted in highly specialized athletes.

The study concluded that highly specialized young athletes were more likely to report experiencing overuse knee or hip injuries. Therefore, it is very important that young players diversify their exercise to avoid injury.

Sports injuries can be sudden in onset, gradual in onset, and rare serious events. They generally occur because athletes do too much too quickly. Other causes:

  • Overestimating fitness and ability
  • Poor technique or lack of preparation
  • Over-training
  • Poor equipment
  • Accidents

There are a variety of conditions that cause hip pain in athletes. Some common injuries include muscles strains, tendonitis, hip pointers and stress fractures. Knee and thigh injuries are more likely to occur in sports such as football which involve running and twisting. Strain to the strong supporting ligaments inside the knee often leads to knee cartilage and ligament injuries. Common knee injuries among sporty teenagers include patellofemoral pain syndrome, chondromalacia patellae, hamstring injury, and quadriceps strain. Both hip and knee injuries can be extremely debilitating and need to be diagnosed and treated without delayto allow continued participation in sports.

One of the best places to get sports injuries treatment is in Brooklyn, New York. In a professional NY multispecialty health care center, a team of specialists from various disciplines are involved in developing customized hip and knee pain treatment plans. A typical plan would involve a wide range of non-invasive modalities such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, pain medications and injections, and more. This team approach for diagnosis and care helps athletes to manage pain effectively and return to their sport quickly.

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