Increasing numbers of children are becoming involved in competitive sport. International trends in pre-adolescent sports participation are mirrored in New Zealand, where promising young athletes are being exposed to high-intensity training from an earlier age. As a consequence, overuse injuries which were traditionally described in more mature athletes are now becoming recognized in pre-adolescents. The immature musculoskeletal system is less able to cope with repetitive biomechanical stress. Sites of overuse injury reflect the sites of rapid musculoskeletal development. It therefore behoves all medical practitioners, but particularly those in primary care, to be aware of the young athlete at risk. Inherent in the presentation of such musculoskeletal insult there often lurks an over-enthusiastic parent. We are all well reminded of the covert pressures adults may bring to bear upon children. Psychological, as well as physical injury often results.
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