A study completed by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found that high school girls are at a much higher risk for overuse injuries in sports than their male counterparts.
Three thousand participants were analyzed in the study, which was published in the Journal of Pediatrics. The study took place over a seven-year period and looked at athletes in 20 different high school sports.
Researchers found the most overuse injuries occurred in girls' track, followed by girls' field hockey and girls' lacrosse. Overuse injuries in boys were highest in swimming and diving.
Dr. Thomas Best led the study and commented on the findings. “These young people spend more time playing sports both in competition and in practice. So, there’s a correlation there between the amount of time that they’re playing and the increased incidence of injuries,” he said.
According to Best, the most common site of overuse injury is the lower leg, followed by the knee and then the shoulder.
He gives some insight into why girls are at a greater risk for overuse injuries. “During this point of their lives, this is when girls are developing bones at the greatest rate,” Best said. “It’s incredibly important that they’re getting the proper amounts of calcium and vitamin D.”
Overuse injuries are most common in children ages 13 to 17 and account for half of all athletic injuries.