Young athletes (from 10-20 years old) are in their stage of life known as adolescence. Adolescence is a time of rapid growth and development during our lifespan, which can make adolescents more prone to certain types of injuries. 

Add sport into the mix and injuries in young athletes is fairly inevitable and something you should definitely be across.

Injuries in Young Athletes

Risk Factors

There are various risk factors for injuries in young athletes, here are four:

1. Growth Spurts

During growth spurts, muscles and bones grow at different rates. This can create imbalances and affect how young athletes move, putting them at greater risk of injuries.

During growth spurts, bones can lengthen faster than the surrounding muscles and ligaments, leading to a higher rate of strains and sprains. Alongside this, the growth of bones is a process of breaking down and remodelling and during growth if the body cannot keep up with this, it can leave bones weaker and therefore more prone to fractures. 

All of these structures however can become much stronger and more resilient with proper nutrition, exercise and adequate rest.

2. Lack of Coordination

This is often a period in life where these athletes are subject to new skills or situations, whereby the body must learn how to perform in these circumstances. Initially, this is usually performed in an inefficient manner which can put certain structures at risk of injury.

3. Participation in Sports

As this is a period of exploration for adolescents, there is usually a rapid increase in sports participation. Social pressure, competitive nature, and overall being involved in more sporting activities contribute largely to an increased injury rate during this time.

4. Risk-Taking Behaviour

We often hear how kids are ‘fearless’ – but it truly is a key stage in their development, to test boundaries and learn for themselves.

When in a sporting environment, this means these young athletes have reduced ability to analyse situations and determine potential end results, meaning instead of being risk averse, they are more risk loving.

This poor judgement and decision-making capability can result in more injuries during this phase of life.


It’s important to note that not all adolescents are equally at risk of injury. Factors such as genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors will all influence this. Additionally, just because this is common during the period, doesn’t mean everything can be dismissed as ‘growing pains’.

These injuries can cause high amounts of pain in young athletes, which over time can further affect their movement patterns and more so, technical performance in sport. 

Assessment and guidance from a physiotherapist is the best way to manage these growth-related injuries.

As in all stages of life, there are common musculoskeletal injuries that can be treated by a physiotherapist, but there are also more serious pathologies or injuries that require specific management. In particular during adolescents, these cannot be missed as they do have the potential to affect ongoing development of these young athletes.

Want To Know More

If you would like to know more about this topic or Physio related issues in general, we’d recommend booking a session with one of our team, such as Bec Beuk who wrote this article.

How Do I Book An Appointment with Precision Athletica for Help?

We’re taking the health of our clients, members and staff very seriously and our preference would be for you to call to book an appointment so that we can make sure to explain our approach to keeping you safe. You can call our bookings team to schedule a session:

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