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Kids' 'Overuse' Sports Injuries Are on the Rise

Orthopedic surgeon James Gamble, MD, offers tips to minimize risk

ACL tears in girls seen as 'an absolute epidemic'

PALO ALTO, Calif., March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- "Exercise and sports participation is a double-edge sword," said James Gamble, MD, PhD, orthopedic surgeon at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. "We want children involved in physical activity outside, especially since we have an obesity crisis. Yet you can have too much of a good thing." If children are participating in too many activities, there may be a breakdown in their bones, ligaments and tendons, creating overuse injuries.


With Daylight Saving Time starting March 8, kids will be playing sports longer, later and more often. In this new video release, Gamble offers tips to minimize the risk of children having overuse injuries. Highlights from the video:

Take a couple days off every week

To help avoid overuse injuries like stress fractures, Gamble highlights the importance of maintaining proper volume and intensity. "If kids are involved in an activity that stresses their bones, ligaments and tendons every day, their body doesn't have time to heal," said Gamble. "I recommend sports participation no more than five days a week, with two days off to rest."

Warming up to minimize injury

"You can't just go out and start running or playing soccer," said Gamble. "There needs to be a very aggressive warm-up period when children regain their flexibility. There's also the need for proper stretching and using the proper equipment, even in practices." Gamble strongly stresses hamstring flexibility, especially during pre-season conditioning. "Hamstring strains are one of the most common conditions we see," explained Gamble. "Strengthening and toning of abdominal and gluteal muscles is highly important, too, as these muscles protect the back."

Ratio of sports injuries among boys and girls

"It's changing," said Gamble. "I'm definitely seeing more girls, especially for sports injuries like anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, which are now three times more common in girls than boys. It's an absolute epidemic." In this video, Gamble also explains why girls are at a greater risk for ACL tears even in non-contact sports.

These tips and more can be found at

    Robert Dicks

About Lucile Packard Children's Hospital

Ranked as one of the nation's best pediatric hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford is a 272-bed hospital devoted to the care of children and expectant mothers. Providing pediatric and obstetric medical and surgical services and associated with the Stanford University School of Medicine, Packard Children's offers patients locally, regionally and nationally the full range of health care programs and services, from preventive and routine care to the diagnosis and treatment of serious illness and injury. For more information, visit

SOURCE Lucile Packard Children's Hospital
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