Growing pains – The Teenage athlete

With sport being so entrenched in our kiwi culture, most of us are thrown into sport at a young age. We also have a toughen up mind set, and she’ll be right attitude with injury and recovery.

But I think we can and need to do better for our younger athletes. We need to start them young with good movement patterns and habits.

Developing bodies are going through dramatic change physically.
Bone and Skeletal immaturity


We can’t disregard the emotional social and cognitive changes too.

Learning to reason, forming identity and peer/parent relationships. Their frontal cortex/front brain is growing. The big part of the brain that controls decision making really is fully matured until late puberty

Younger athletes 6-18year old considerations

• Irritation to the growth plate of the bones of the skeleton, the growth plate is made up of cartilage before it becomes bone (ossifies)
• We are tending to notice athletic specialization at a younger age. Or teens playing their chosen sport year-round. Which can tend itself to over-use injuries like knee tendon issues back pain and growth plate issues in children.

What are growing pains?

Muscle aches that are usually in the front leg or thigh or in the calf muscles and are more often than not linked to jumping/playing or strenuous activity. They usually occur between 3-5 yo and 8-11yo. Growing pains are generally a diagnosis of exclusion. Rule everything else out first. If your child complains more than a few times about a muscle or joint ache, check in with your GP or local chiro for some reassurance and a clear diagnosis

The most common injuries in teenage athletes
1. Sprained ankles
2. Runner’s knee (tendon problem)
3. Shoulder injuries
4. Shin Splints
5. Head Injuries

Girl growth spurt = 12.5 – 14 years
Boy growth spurt = 12.5 – 15 years
Maximum rate of growth for girls = 11 years
Maximum rate of growth for boys = 14yo

How can sports chiropractic help young athletes?

1. Correct faulty mechanics
2. Reduce growing pain
3. Improve body awareness
4. Improve balance
5. Improve strength
6. Reduce physical and emotional stress
7. Improve sleep
8. Overall relaxed body
9. Help the skeletal and muscular health
10. General support for a healthy body

Chiropractors treat the neuromusculoskeletal system and can provide advice on sports training, nutrition and injury prevention to young athletes

Chiropractic care is an also excellent way to keep your child’s body healthy in the future. It’s all about a preventative mind-set!