Children and bones

It is important to keep children naturally active. If activity levels fall below a certain threshold, then growth is impaired. However, evidence indicates that excessive training may have adverse effects resulting in a reduction of growth potential. Adolescence is a crucial time in terms of bone density maximisation. Physical activity and exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, are necessary, in combination with adequate nutrition, for attainment of maximal bone density.

Care must be taken, however, to avoid overuse injuries. These are caused by repetitive microtrauma to the musculoskeletal system. There are many risk factors, some of which have been listed below:

  • Significant changes in the intensity, duration, frequency, or type of training
  • Musculotendinous tautness in early adolescence
  • Imbalance between strength and flexibility
  • Anatomical malalignment of lower extremities
  • Incorrect biomechanics
  • Improper footwear
  • Training on a hard surface
  • Excessive loading of the back during growth spurts (ACSM)
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