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Relationship between growth, maturation and musculoskeletal conditions in adolescents: a systematic review


Objective To determine whether there is a relationship between physical growth and development, as determined by markers of biological maturation, and musculoskeletal conditions in adolescents.

Design Systematic review.

Data sources Electronic databases (PubMed, EMBASE and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) were searched up to 6 September 2017.

Eligibility criteria for selecting studies Studies that evaluated the association between biological maturation or growth and musculoskeletal conditions in adolescents (chronological age 10–19 years).

Results From 20 361 titles identified by the searches, 511 full-text articles were retrieved and assessed for eligibility; 56 studies, all at high risk of bias, evaluating the relationship between maturation and/or growth and musculoskeletal conditions were included. A total of 208 estimates of association were identified across the included studies, which generally indicated no association or an unclear association between maturation, growth and musculoskeletal conditions.

Summary/Conclusions While the relationship between maturation, growth and musculoskeletal conditions remains plausible, the available evidence is not supportive. The current body of knowledge is at high risk of bias, which impedes our ability to establish whether biological maturity and growth are independent risk factors for musculoskeletal conditions.

  • adolescent
  • growth
  • injuries
  • fracture

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