Rapid Growth Spurts in Adolescents
Get ready to tackle a common issue in adolescent boys during their growth spurt – Osgood-Schlatter disease!
This condition involves inflammation of the tibial tuberosity and can cause trouble in soccer players, especially in the non-kicking leg. But here’s the twist: did you know that you might be able to predict who is likely to develop this condition and potentially prevent it from happening?
It all starts with understanding the peak height velocity – a period of rapid growth and clumsy movements that corresponds with the onset of Osgood-Schlatter disease.
Overnight Growth Spurts
Picture the gangly, rapidly growing youth who seems to have become a giant overnight! To track this, you’ll need to record a child’s height at regular intervals and chart it. However, you’ll only find out after the fact when they’ve gone through peak height velocity! Because the riskiest time is 6 months before and 6 months after the peak it’s still valuable to track.(Takei et al., 2023)
But that’s not all. To identify kids at risk, you’ll also need to check their quadriceps and gastrocnemius flexibility. If the knee flexion angle is over 35 degrees in the prone position or the calf is so tight they can’t get their foot past vertical in the supine position, they’re at risk.
Here’s the catch: stretching may not be the best solution to increase flexibility, but it’s worth a shot. If you’ve identified a child at risk, be proactive with quadriceps and calf stretching on a regular basis.
All in all, it’s worth tracking height and monitoring flexibility in your young athletes so that you can modify training when they are most at risk.
Takei, S., Torii, S., Taketomi, S., Iizuka, S., Tojima, M., Iwanuma, S., Iida, Y., & Tanaka, S. (2023). Developmental stage and lower quadriceps flexibilities and decreased gastrocnemius flexibilities are predictive risk factors for developing Osgood–Schlatter disease in adolescent male soccer players. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy. https://doi.org/10.1007/S00167-023-07378-Z