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Children, Exercise and Injuries Part 1


Kids love exercise and parents love seeing their child achieve a goal. Some kids are enduring 3 different types of sports a day, whilst others just enjoy school sports or the occasional activity.

I wish I could say that seeing children for treatment is because they want to improve their flexibility and maintenance for their sport. Unfortunately, its normally because they are injured. Therefore the question here is : if their injury has come on for no reason at all…what’s happening in their body?

And to find that out we need to understand how the body develops

Part 1             


There are 3 stages of development: early childhood, middle childhood and then adolescence. (Malina).  This blog is about adolescence.

With relation to how and what, the skeleton grows first which is followed by legs and arms which increase in length.   The growth spurt begins and the trunk grows very quickly. (Growth spurt is when the body rapidly increases).  This is for the average child but also if they have been suffering with an illness this maybe delayed and then play catch up.

Height measurements can change very rapidly. Girls at 12 years of age will increase 9cm and a total of 25 cm during their pubertal growth. Boys generally are 2 years behind in growth patterns than girls and within this time will increase 10.3 cm. But also, again during genital stages a 28 cm gain in height. Growth itself will cease typically around 15years old for a girl and 17 years old for a boy due to the epiphyseal plate hitting its fusion point (Rogol) But the skeleton process lasts until 18-19 in girls and 20-22 in boys. (Bogin)

what is an epiphyseal plate?

During bone growth the epiphyseal plate plays a major part in this process.

If you look at the picture of the bone placed next to this text please zoom in on two areas the diaphysis and the epiphyseal plate.

A brief description of what they are:

  • Diaphysis: this is the section in the mid-point of the bone. Where the bone marrow sits
  • Epiphyseal plate: On this picture you will see this as the epiphyseal line (which is the name once it is fused)

“the activity of the epiphyseal plate is the only way that the diaphysis can increase in length. Cartilage is replaced by bone on the diaphyseal side of the plate. In this way the thickness of the epiphyseal plate remains relatively constant but the bone on the diaphyseal side increases in length. When adolescence comes to an end the epiphyseal plates close, rather that the epiphyseal cartilage cells stop dividing and bone replaces all remaining cartilage. The plate fades and then a line remains. Bone length stops completely” (Tortora et al, 2011 p.193).


Benefits and Effects of exercise

There are many benefits to exercise for children. Here is a breakdown.

a. Prevents obesity

With more children using their game consoles for exercise keeping active is a great way to prevent obesity. According to WHO, 22 million children (under 5years of age ) are overweight!! (Chahar)

b. Encourages the body to develop better.

Keeping moderate or low exercise during childhood helps longer term health of the skeletal system. There is also evidence out there that weight bearing exercise is a factor to increasing bone mass. It also “provides the mechanical stimuli of loading importance for the maintenance of bone health to minimize the rate of bone loss later in life” (Chahar, P 2013 p18)

By exercising whilst young it’s a great way to set routine encouraging kids to stay active after they leave school and thereafter into their adulthood. With the effect of cardiovascular girls aerobic power is lowered by 15% by the age of 14 and then it plateaus and the same effect with strength. With boys it’s a different thing altogether because it keeps increasing up until the age of 18 years of age and again with strength…they just get stronger!

Kids and young adults get stressed,  also can have anxiety issues,  so it’s a great way to release these and also be part of something, a team and great for building relationships and to get the endorphins moving (feel good factor).   Sports encourage memory gain and co ordination. Keeping the brain active, encouraging more blood flow to the brain, which is great for exams!

So it all sounds really encouraging,  sport is good for kids/young adults….or is it?!! Wait and see with part 2 out next week!



bogin, B (2015). “Human Growth and Development”. Elsevier, p287 [online]. Available at : (Accessed 12th March 2019)

Chahar, P (2014). “Physiological basis of Growth and Development among children and Adolescent in Relation to Physical Activity. American Journal Of sports and Science and Medicine, vol. 2, no 5A [online]. Available at: (Accessed 12th March 2019)

Malina, I (2014). “Growth development and Maturity in Children and Adolescent: Relation to Sports and Physical Activity. American Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. Vol. 2. no 5A. [online]. Available at: (Accessed 12th March 2019)

Rogol, A et al. (2000) ” Growth and pubertal development in children and adolescents :effects of diet and physical activity. Research gate. [online]. Available at: (Accessed 12th March 2019)

Tortora, G. Derrickson, B. (2011). Principles of Anatomy & Physiology. 13th edition. Asia: Wiley. P193)




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