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Overuse injuries in kids

Having school aged children involved in sports has been great for my kids and the lessons they learn including working together as a team, having fun, playing fair and taking care of their bodies. The last lesson has been an interesting challenge for my family over the past year. My 12 year old daughter spent a few months dealing with overuse injuries from playing basketball, soccer and skiing. She had Achilles pain and knee pain. As a Physical Therapist, I knew exactly what to do to help her! As her mom, I was frustrated that she wasn't doing what I told her to do to get better. So, this became a learning experience for both of us.

What is an overuse injury? It occurs when there is repetitive stress placed upon a muscle, tendon, ligament or bone. Most of the time, it occurs where there is muscle imbalance. Common causes are from playing one sport year-round, not enough rest, and sometimes a growth spurt. The symptoms are usually pain, swelling and an inability to perform their sport at their normal level.

Our journey started in February of 2021. My daughter started having Achilles pain with running. I showed her the appropriate stretching to perform, we tried some tape and made sure her shoes were fitting well. I told her to do her stretches twice a day and at practice too. I thought that it was taken care of. As a mom, I should have known better! Kids never listen to their parents. She continued to complain about her feet and when I asked her if she was doing what I told her to do, she said, "yes, I