BMJ open 2017 01 137(1) e012606 doi 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012606
It is not known which sports are most likely to cause overuse injuries of the extremities in children. In this study, we report on the incidence of overuse injuries of the upper and lower extremities in children who participate in various leisure-time sports and relate this to the frequency of sport sessions.
Natural experiment including a prospective cohort study.
10 state schools in 1 Danish municipality: Svendborg.
1270 children aged 6-13 years participating in the Childhood Health, Activity, and Motor Performance School Study Denmark.
Over 2.5 years, parents answered weekly SMS-track messages (a) on type and frequency of leisure-time sports undertaken by their child, and (b) reporting if their child had experienced any musculoskeletal pain. Children with reported pain were examined by a clinician and diagnosed as having an overuse injury of an extremity or not. The incidence of diagnosed overuse injury was calculated for each of the 9 most common sports in relation to 5-week periods. Incidence by frequency of sessions was calculated, and multivariable analysis was performed taking into account age, sex and frequency of physical education classes at school.
Incidence of overuse injuries of the lower extremity ranged from 0.2 to 3.3 for the 9 sports, but was near 0 for overuse injuries of the upper extremities. There was no obvious dose-response. The multivariate analysis showed soccer and handball to be the sports most likely to result in an overuse injury.
Among a general population of schoolchildren, overuse injuries of the lower extremities were not common and overuse injuries of the upper extremities were rare. Organised leisure-time sport, as practised in Denmark, can be considered a safe activity for children.