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News - Details

Back Pain in Youth Soccer Players

December 10, 2014 08:17 PM

Low back pain is common in adults, but is not normal in adolescents. Although back pain can be due to a simple strain, young, active kids can suffer from Lumbar Stress Fractures. The medical term for this is spondylolysis.

Spondylolysis is an overuse injury in which repeated stress to a small bone, called the pars, causes a fracture. This stress is most often due to movement associated with certain competitive sports, such as gymnastics, dance, soccer and football. In these sports, the spine is flexed forward, bent back or turned, creating mechanical stress.

Spondylolysis occurs in 4-6 percent of the population. The number is much higher in young, competitive athletes than in the general population, due to the stress placed on the spine during sports. Symptoms of spondylolysis include lower back pain which is worsened with activity, especially hyperextension of the spine. Many times, people with spondylolysis have tight hamstring muscles.

It is important not to assume that low back pain in a young soccer player is just a strain. If back pain is persistent or worsening with soccer, they should be evaluated by a physician to rule out a stress fracture (spondylolysis).