Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Repetitive, high-impact sports linked to stress fractures in girls

Date:
April 4, 2011
Source:
Children's Hospital Boston
Summary:
Children are urged to participate in sports at younger and younger ages and at greater levels of intensity. While weight-bearing activity is generally thought to increase bone density, a new study finds that for preadolescent and adolescent girls, too much high-impact activity can lead to stress fractures. If these are detected too late in children and adolescent athletes, they pose a risk of true fracture, deformity or growth disturbance requiring surgical treatment, say the researchers.

Children are urged to participate in sports at younger and younger ages and at greater levels of intensity. While weight-bearing activity is generally thought to increase bone density, a study from Children's Hospital Boston finds that for preadolescent and adolescent girls, too much high-impact activity can lead to stress fractures.

If these are detected too late in children and adolescent athletes, they pose a risk of true fracture, deformity or growth disturbance requiring surgical treatment, say the researchers, led by Alison Field, ScD, of Children's Division of Adolescent Medicine, and Mininder S. Kocher, MD, MPH, associate director of Sports Medicine at Children's.

The study, published online April 4 by the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, followed 6831 girls aged 9 to 15 participating in the large national Growing Up Today Study, co-founded by Field. During the 7 years after enrollment, 4 percent of the girls developed a stress fracture. The most significant predictors were high-impact activities, particularly running, basketball, cheerleading and gymnastics.

"This is the first study to look prospectively at causes of stress fracture among a general sample of adolescent girls," says Field, who is also affiliated with Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Most research has been on specialized groups, such as army recruits or college athletes, making it difficult to figure out if the results apply to average adolescents. Our study was large enough to look at risk associated not only with hours per week of activity, but also hours per week in a variety of different activities."

When the researchers adjusted for other risk factors (age, later onset of menstruation and family history of osteoporosis and low bone density), the association between high-impact sports and fractures only strengthened. Girls engaging in 8 or more hours of high-impact activity per week were twice as likely to have a stress fracture as those engaged in such activity for 4 hours or fewer.

"We are seeing stress fractures more frequently in our pediatric and adolescent athletes," says Kocher, senior author on the report. "This likely reflects increased intensity and volume of youth sports. Kids are often playing on multiple teams, including town and travel teams, and participating in high intensity showcases and tournaments. It's not uncommon to see young athletes participating in more than 20 hours of sports per week."

Each hour of high-impact activity per week increased fracture risk by about 8 percent. Basketball, cheerleading/gymnastics and running were independent predictors.

"The youth athlete is specializing in a single sport at a younger age," says Kocher. "This does not allow for cross-training or relative rest, as the athlete is constantly doing the same pattern of movement and impact. Small injuries are being made in the bone with greater cumulative frequency than the body can handle."

The key to the treatment of stress fractures is early recognition, Kocher adds. If recognized early, most stress fractures will heal fully with activity restriction.

"Kids should not play through pain," he says. "'No pain-No gain' is not an appropriate adage for the young athlete."

The study was supported by the Department of Orthopedics at Children's Hospital Boston and the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Children's Hospital Boston. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alison E. Field; Catherine M. Gordon; Laura M. Pierce; Arun Ramappa; Mininder S. Kocher. Prospective Study of Physical Activity and Risk of Developing a Stress Fracture Among Preadolescent and Adolescent Girls. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 2011; DOI: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.34

Cite This Page:

Children's Hospital Boston. "Repetitive, high-impact sports linked to stress fractures in girls." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110404161714.htm>.
Children's Hospital Boston. (2011, April 4). Repetitive, high-impact sports linked to stress fractures in girls. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110404161714.htm
Children's Hospital Boston. "Repetitive, high-impact sports linked to stress fractures in girls." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110404161714.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins