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Apophysitis Medical Definition
Apophysitis - is an inflammation or stress injury to the areas on or around growth plates in children and adolescents.
Apophysitis is usually caused by repetitive overuse activities like running, jumping, and throwing but can also occur as an acute injure with a fall, or rapid, powerful movements.
Apophysitis can present anywhere in the body where a muscle or tendon attaches to an area of bone where a growth plate is located.
Types of Apophysitis
The most common types of Apophysitis are:
- Sever's Disease (back or underside of the knee).
- Osgood Schlatter's Disease (bony area under the patella/knee cap).
- Little League Elbow (the bony part of the inner part of the elbow).
- Little League Shoulder (upper part of the arm at the shoulder).
- Iliac crest Apophysitis (the bony part of the upper hip area near the waist).
- Sindin-Larson-Johansson Syndrome (bottom part of the patella/knee cap).
- Iselin's Disease (outside edge of the middle part of the foot).
The most common risk factors for Apophysitis are periods of rapid growth where muscles and tendons can become tight and inflexible.
Symptoms can vary, but a few key things to watch for are:
- Pain that worsens during or after repetitive sports activities such as running, jumping, and throwing.
- Pain, swelling, and/or tenderness to the touch over growth plate areas at the heel, knee, elbow, shoulder, hip, or foot.
A diagnosis can be made with a thorough musculoskeletal examination, and X-rays of the area to confirm Apophysitis or rule-out other injuries such as fractures.
Treatment depends on the location and severity of the injury.
Initial treatment for Apophysitis is always rest.
Other treatments may include:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or other medications to control pain and reduce inflammation.
- Ice or ice massage, to help control pain and alleviate inflammation of the area.
- Braces or medical equipment that may help to alleviate pain and protect the affected area.
- Rehabilitation with an athletic trainer or physical therapist that will include stretching, strengthening and treatments to reduce pain and prevent future injury.
- More severe cases may require a period of immobilization and/or non-weight bearing using a walking boot, crutches, and/or a cast.
Parents and coaches can help prevent Apophysitis in young athletes by being aware of activity-related pain and recognizing the symptoms early.
It is important to maintain and improve the flexibility of muscles as a child grows.
Avoiding sport specialization (one sport year-round) will allow a child's body to rest from more strenuous and repetitive sports activities, and will help prevent overuse injuries.