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Common Injuries In Track and Field 

Track And Field Safety 

Track and field is a sport that demands precision, strength, and agility, making it an exciting choice for many pediatric and adolescent athletes. However, like any sport, it comes with its own set of risks. With over 45 million children participating in organized athletic activities in the US, pediatric sports injuries have become a significant concern.

Today, young athletes often find themselves juggling multiple sports and teams throughout the year, leaving little time for rest and recovery. This increased participation has led to a rise in youth injuries, with approximately one-third of school-aged children visiting a healthcare provider each year for sports-related injuries. Many of these injuries are due to overuse, as young bodies are susceptible to stress-related injuries, especially during periods of growth. This susceptibility is often compounded by myo-osseous disproportion, making it crucial for parents, coaches, and athletes to understand the common injuries that can occur in track and field and how to prevent them.

Running Related Injuries 

Running is a fundamental aspect of track and field, but it also carries a risk of various injuries, especially in pediatric and adolescent athletes. One common running-related injury is Apophysitis, which occurs due to repetitive traction injury to the cartilage and bone attachment of a tendon, causing pain. Apophysitis often affects the tibial tubercle and the calcaneus, where the growth plate and tendon attachment are under significant stress. The tibial tubercle, for instance, is particularly vulnerable during growth spurts as the apophysis is two to five times weaker than the tendon or bone, leading to localized stress and pain. In addition to Apophysitis, running can also lead to other injuries such as shin splints, stress fractures, and Osgood-Schlatter disease.

Overuse injuries are prevalent in track and field, with running being the primary cause. Apophysitis, such as Osgood-Schlatter disease, occurs due to repetitive stress on the tibial tubercle, causing anterior knee pain, especially during activity. Similarly, Sever’s disease affects the Achilles attachment, resulting in activity-related heel pain and tight calf muscles. Stress fractures are another concern, occurring due to repetitive stress leading to small cracks in the bone, and are common in the lower extremities of track and field athletes. Prevention strategies such as proper training, cross-training, and wearing appropriate footwear are crucial in mitigating the risk of overuse injuries in young track and field athletes.

Other Injuries 

Apart from running-related injuries, track and field athletes are also prone to other types of injuries such as pulled muscles and cramping. Pulled muscles, often caused by sudden movements or overexertion, can occur in various parts of the body, including the legs, arms, and back. Proper warm-up exercises, stretching routines, and adequate hydration can help prevent these injuries. Additionally, cramping, which is often caused by dehydration or electrolyte imbalances, can be prevented by ensuring athletes maintain proper hydration and electrolyte balance before, during, and after training and competitions.

In addition to these common injuries, track and field athletes may also face the risk of freak accidents, particularly in events such as pole vault, long jump, high jump, and hurdling. These accidents can result from mistimed jumps, falls, or collisions with equipment. While such incidents are relatively rare, proper coaching, adherence to safety guidelines, and the use of appropriate protective gear can help minimize the risk of serious injury in these events.

Proper Stretching To Prevent Injuries

Proper stretching is essential for preventing injuries in track and field athletes. Incorporating dynamic stretching before a workout and static stretching after can help improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension, and decrease the risk of overuse injuries. For instance, in the case of Apophysitis and Osgood-Schlatter disease, stretching the quadriceps and hamstring muscles can help alleviate stress on the tibial tubercle. Similarly, calf stretches can help prevent Severs disease by reducing tension on the Achilles attachment. Overall, incorporating a well-rounded stretching routine into training programs not only enhances performance but also plays a crucial role in injury prevention and the long-term health of young track and field athletes.

When To See The Pediatric Orthopedic Center 

If you suspect your child might have symptoms of an overuse sports injury, contact The Pediatric Orthopedic Center at (973) 538-7700 or by filling out the request an appointment form.

Schedule an Appointment with a Specialist Today

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Urgent Care for Acute Injuries (Cedar Knolls)

Walk-In Hours Update

*Urgent and Acute Injuries Only during Urgent Care/Walk-in Clinic hours. To find out if your child’s injury qualifies for a walk-in visit, click here. (Walk-in fees may apply.)


Regular Hours: 9am-5pm
Walk-in Hours* (Cedar Knolls): 5pm-8pm


Regular Hours: 9am-5pm
Walk-in Hours* (Cedar Knolls): 5pm-8pm


Regular Hours: 9am-5pm
Walk-in Hours* (Cedar Knolls): 5pm-8pm


Regular Hours: 9am-5pm
Walk-in Hours* (Cedar Knolls): 5pm-8pm


Regular Hours: 8am-5pm
NO walk-in hours.


Walk-in Hours* (Cedar Knolls): 10am-2pm

Sunday: Closed

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