Children's Injuries

Children can suffer different injuries than adults due to their immature skeleton

Child having physiotherapy treatmentApophyseal Injuries

In adults tendons are attached firmly to the bone but in children the attachment (called the apophysis) is much weaker.  This can lead to injuries where the tendon is pulled away from the bone, so called avulsion injuries.

Growth Plate Injuries

Repeated stress or acute trauma can damage or fracture the growth plate of the growing bone.  Growth plate injuries are seen at the wrist, elbow, ankle, knee and hip.

Back Pain

Children can suffer the same injuries to discs, ligament and muscles as do adults.

Other causes of back pain in children include:

  • Scheurmans disease irregularity of the growth plates.
  • Scoliosis.
  • Stress fracture of the pars spondylolisthesis.

Bones grow faster than muscles and so during growth spurts inflexibility can be a problem, leading to increased risk of injury.

Examples of injuries specific to children:

  • Perthes disease  -  interruption of the blood supply to the head of the femur. Child presents with hip pain and limp.
  • Osgood-Schlatter Lesion  -  occurs at the attachment of the patella tendon. Child presents with knee pain and swelling below knee caps.
  • Severs Lesion  -  occurs at the insertion of the achilles tendon to the heel bone. Child presents with heel pain after running.
  • Osteochondrits Dessicans  -  loose body due to damaged articular cartilage  and bone. May occur in any joint but often at the elbow.  Child presents with elbow pain after throwing / racquet sports.

Musculoskeletal physiotherapists are trained to diagnose and recognize these conditions that specifically affect children. Many of these conditions are managed with physiotherapy treatment.  For those that are not we will refer you to the appropriate health practitioner or your doctor. 

Tips for Reducing Injuries to the Younger Athlete

  • Avoid overtraining - Children under 14 years should not train more than three times per week - 1.5 hrs each session.
Recommended Maximum Running Distance
Age Distance (km)
Under 9 3
9 - 11 5
12 -14 10
15 - 16 Half Marathon
17 30
18 Full Marathon


  • Warm up before playing by mimicking the movements of the game at a reduced intensity.
  • Stretch regularly between training/playing.
  • Be Fit - Stay in condition by being active in the off season.

Report injuries to your coach and see us at Austens Physiotherapy for any significant injury or any injury that does not settle.