Young teenagers have more opportunities to participate in athletics nowadays. This is good for general health. Here are some tips on participating in sports safely:

1. Athletic shoes used for serious activity should be replaced every five to six months. Repetitive heavy stress on the internal structure of shoes can reduce their cushioning ability.
2. Running on soft surfaces i.e. grass or tracks can protect feet, ankles, shins, and knees.

In general, training should start many months before beginning a new sport, or after a period of inactivity. Once training begins, it is safest not to increase the intensity of training more than 10% per week. As a guideline, young athletes should be careful not to run more than 16 hours per week, or pitch over 300 pitches per week.

Children tend to retain heat more than adults. A child who is exercising heavily, and becomes red in the face or short of breath, should immediately stop activity, drink fluids, and consider going inside or even showering to avoid getting overheated.

Common orthopedic problems with athletics:

1. Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease: Bony tenderness on the upper shin, just below the knee. Supportive treatment is usually all that is needed including ice and anti-inflammatory medications. Exercises emphasizing quadriceps stretching are useful. Athletes may play up to their pain tolerance.

2. Sever’s Disease: Stress fracture of the heel bone. The main sign is extreme heel pain. Treatments include ice and anti-inflammatory medications, stretching and strengthening exercises of the ankle.