The most typical injuries I see in this category are the ischial tuberosity stress injury and growth plate injuries. They are commonly mistaken as a hamstring strain. Some symptoms that may cause you to suspect this injury are:
1. Pain at the top of the hamstring
2. You might have pain with sitting in class at school or on other hard surfaces
3. You might have pain with walking
While these injuries are not exclusive to kids and teens, they are more common in these age groups. This is likely because bones may grow faster than muscles during a growth spurt. Therefore, practicing aggressive stretching such as over-splits or repetitive kicking to the end of the range of motion is likely to pull on the weakest link. This is where the hamstring attaches to the growth plate or ischial tuberosity.
If you suspect this injury, the most important thing to do is STOP stretching the hamstring on the injured side. Continued stretching makes this injury worst, and can create difficulties with even basic tasks like walking for years if it is not treated appropriately. Dancers usually don’t like the idea of less stretching, but after Physical Therapy to resolve the injury, the flexibility returns on its own!
Other things you can do at home that typically help include rest, ice, and foam rolling.
Other activities to avoid include running and jumping until the injury has healed. With Physical Therapy, this injury typically takes 6 weeks to become 80% better. Without, I have seen more typical time frames of 9 months-3 years, although I have seen a few self-resolve with self-management in 2-3 months.
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This article is written by OSR Physical Therapist, Meredith Butulis. Meredith practices in our Eden Prairie office.
Note: This blog post is not intended as a substitute for appropriate medical evaluation and treatment of injury or suspected injury.