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.

Related Articles


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 25, 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 25, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Microsoft Riding High On Strong Surface, Cloud Performance

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Microsoft's Q3 earnings showed its tablets and cloud services are really hitting their stride. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. 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