Osgood Schlatters (OS), Larsen-Johansson (LJ) and Severs disease are common adolescent conditions that affect young rapidly growing athletes. These injuries occur where the muscle tendons attach to the bone. During a growth spurt the bones, muscles and tendons are all growing at different rates. If the muscles are tight they put extra stress on the bone resulting in inflammation and pain. In the case of OS and LJ the pain is felt at the knee, where Severs affects the heel. Many athletes are specializing in sport earlier and are engaging in year round training, how can you make sure your young athletes can continue to train during this stage of development without suffering from growing pains?
Risk Factor #1
The bones are growing faster than the muscles can adapt in terms of flexibility. Which puts a lot of stress on the muscle-tendon junctions, bone-tendon junctions, ligaments and growth cartilage.
Prevention strategy: Implement a regular stretching program focusing on the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves, which have all been shown to be excessively tight during the adolescent growth spurt. Stretching should take place when the body is warm, i.e., at the end of your workout. Stretches need to be held for at least 30 seconds to be effective x 3 sets.
Hamstrings: Raise one foot onto a bench, lean forward bending from the hips and keeping your back straight. You should feel a stretch at the back of your leg.