Lower Extremity Injuries in the Skeletally Immature Athlete

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The heightened intensity of training and competition among young athletes places them at increased risk for both acute and chronic injuries. Prompt recognition and treatment of such injuries are critical to prevent long-term functional disability and deformity. These injuries occur in patterns unique to the skeletally immature athlete, given their developing epiphyses and ossification centers and supporting ligamentous structures. Children and adolescents who participate in recreational and organized sports are particularly susceptible to a broad spectrum of lower extremity injuries involving both the osseous and soft-tissue structures. Fundamental knowledge of the pathophysiology of injury helps the clinician in determining management. Early recognition of acute traumatic injuries, along with preventive regimens and knowledge of both nonsurgical and surgical treatment protocols, has helped to restore and maintain normal lower extremity function in the skeletally immature athlete.

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