Prevention and management of common musculoskeletal injuries in preadolescent and adolescent female athletes

Mimi Zumwalt, Brittany Dowling

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Females transitioning from childhood to adolescence undergo a dramatic change in their body. In fact, this transitional period is where males and females start to diverge in terms of body composition, muscular strength, and bone mass. With the start of menses, female hormones begin to take an even more significant role on the body by greatly affecting the development/function of skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. This rapid physiologic change during menarche exposes the female athlete’s body to musculoskeletal injury, i.e., tendons, ligaments, muscles, and bones are all at risk. The skeleton in particular, is at greater risk due to the presence of open physes or “growth plates” at the ends of growing long bones. The young female athlete is therefore more prone to the multitude of sportsrelated injuries, and in fact at higher risk for certain types of trauma than their adult counterparts. Heightened awareness and a certain level of precaution need to be taken to help prevent potential injury. However, if trauma does occur then appropriate steps need to be taken to treat as well as protect the injured site for optimal healing and recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Active Female
Subtitle of host publicationHealth Issues Throughout the Lifespan, Second Edition
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781461488842
ISBN (Print)9781461488835
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Adolescence
  • Menarche
  • Menses
  • Physes or “growth plate”


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