3 Common Orthopedic Problems in Teenagers

When it comes to the physical health of teenagers, there are a number of orthopedic issues that can significantly impact a teen’s ability to grow and develop normally. Areas of the body often affected by these issues include the spine, knees, and ankles. Although some orthopedic problems are easily recognizable by parents and children alike, many teenagers simply do not realize that they are suffering from an ailment. In fact, many parents tell their children that the pain they experience is just “growing pains” when actually the adolescent is in need of medical attention.

Sprains and Strains

The vast majority of injuries among teenagers occur while playing sports and affect the ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Usually diagnosed with a combination of x-rays and a thorough physical evaluation, sprains and strains typically heal quickly and with minimal treatment required. Only the most severe cases occasionally require surgical intervention for healing.


A normal spine should appear straight when viewed from behind. However, when the spine is either curved, rotated, or sideways, this indicates a degree of scoliosis. Although many people mistake scoliosis for poor posture, the truth is that the cause is usually unknown. The three types of scoliosis that often develop in children include congenital, idiopathic, and neuromuscular. This condition is more common in girls than in boys.

Tennis Elbow

Although it is most common in adults, tennis elbow also affects teenagers. As one of the top overuse injuries among teens, tennis elbow is not limited to those involved in racquet sports. In fact, the vast majority of cases occur in those who do not play sports at all. Typically, treatment involves a combination of pain relief methods and physical therapy, and sometimes surgery.

Whether a teenager is actively involved in sports or simply suffers from ongoing pain or discomfort, it is best for parents to take their teen’s complaints seriously and schedule him or her for a thorough examination. An early diagnosis can enable the teenager to fully recover and resume regular physical activity as quickly as possible.