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Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Children who train intensively or play multiple sports could experience hip problems as early as their 40s, a leading orthopaedic surgeon has warned.
Dr Patrick Carton said there was growing evidence linking regular participation in competitive sports among children as young as eight and hip problems in later life.
"Because of increasing demands and stresses from more and more training sessions being placed on the hip joints at all underage levels, it is expected there will be a major increase in hip-related injury and joint damage, resulting in hip replacements for many of those people as early as 15-20 years later, many still only in their 40s," said Dr Carton, a specialist in hip and groin surgery at the Whitfield Clinic, Waterford.
"There is increasing evidence demonstrating the link between participation in regular competitive sports at a young age and developing abnormalities in the shape of the hip.
"The repetitive abnormal contact between the ball and the socket is known as ‘hip impingement’. This results in progressive damage to the hip joint and, if unrecognised, can quickly deteriorate, resulting in the premature end of a sporting career in later years and the development of osteoarthritis of the hip requiring eventual hip replacement."
Dr Carton said there was a need for greater awareness of the stresses put on young joints. "I’m not saying we stop all activities and sports at the younger age levels but we need to recognise now that intense training sessions, competition, and participation in many different sports at an early age places enormous stresses on the growing hip joints at a time when they are most vulnerable.
"We need to consider ways in which more structured training and playing can be encouraged and at the same time protect the children from developing these hip-related problems. The key is to increase professional education and general awareness of hip impingement so that diagnosis can be made early."
The issue will be discussed at the second International Hip and Groin Symposium at the Whitfield Clinic and Waterford IT on Saturday.
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