In a time when increased regulation and better equipment have made youth sports safer than ever, a surprising type of injury is emerging from school gyms and playing fields in growing numbers: repetitive stress injuries.
The causes, experts say, are year-round competition that leave little opportunity to rest overworked muscles and specialization that focuses on one joint or muscle group instead of exercising the whole body.
Once virtually unheard of in young athletes, overuse injuries are now more prevalent among players young enough to play in Little League and Pee Wee football.
A 16-year-old track and field star nursing runner's knee. A junior varsity pitcher suffering from tendinitis. A high school football player recovering from shin splints. A swimmer dealing with rotator cuff tendinitis and impingement. These are typical overuse injuries in popular sports, injuries that worry sports medical experts.
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