Knee pain in young hockey players
Knee pain in young hockey players is something that I see quite regularly in my clinic and in sporty kids. When we are talking young, I mean any age from 10-16 years old. It is far more common in girls than boys.
There are many reasons a young athlete gets knee pain, here we will cover a few of the main possible reasons and what we can do to help. Firstly we must make sure that we have excluded the big problems.
Serious problems in young athletes with knee pain
If your child is suffering from severe pain or swelling in the knee without any real cause then this needs to be immediately checked. If there is any unwellness or temperature you need to exclude an infection in the joint. Generally to be safe, if your child has pain that just isn’t going away after a few weeks then its worth getting an assessment. More than likely if they are sporty its a matter of load management but its always worth making sure its nothing more serious. Some causes of knee pain are below and its really only possible to exclude these by further investigations or a thorough examination.
- Growth plate injury
- Referred pain from the hip
- Childhood tumors
- Rheumatoid problems
There are two types of knee pain
- traumatic or from an injury on the pitch or twisting or landing awkwardly.
- over-use injury
Today we will discuss the second,
Over-use injury of the knee
Hockey can be a demanding sport on the body especially the knees, we spend a large proportion of the time in a squat or a lunge position. Alongside this there is running/sprinting and lots of stopping/starting and turning.
All these movements put pressure on the knees and when we are growing firstly, we are not as strong in our muscles or core, secondly, we are not so quick on our feet and thirdly, as we are growing our muscles get tight and so we are not as flexible as we could be.
Finally, perhaps we need to look at how much sport we are doing and whether we are really coping with it.
Generally we know that we need to get strong to cope with the demand of sport but when we are growing certain muscles take time to catch up. The main muscles we need to strengthen are:
- Gluteal or buttock muscles particularly our gluteus medius
- Calf muscles
- Core and back muscles
Over the coming weeks we will show you exercises for all these groups.
- Strength in your calf muscles will help you become faster on your feet.
- Moving your feet more will not only help you become more nimble but you will become faster.
- Moving the feet more will ultimately take the pressure off your knees.
Flexibility when you are growing is very important, as your muscles become tight if you do a lot of sport. The main muscles we need to stretch are:
- Calf muscles
- Quads and hip flexors
We will be discussing training volume in our future posts but this is an area that you need to start thinking of as an athlete. What is important is quality training and not getting too fatigued. Fatigue can lead to injury as well as illness (coughs and colds). Think about that time when you are exhausted and have to go to a training session. You wont be performing at your best. Fatigue can make you poor in your performance as well as prone to injury. Working out what is the best week of training will need you to be aware of how you feel after all your training sessions.
During the course of this season we will look at all the above in detail so that you can become more aware. Remember don’t leave it too long before you get your knees checked as the longer you leave it the slower you will take to improve it. If you need to see us at JYPhysiotherapy please GET IN TOUCH!