Worcestershire is incredibly lucky to have not one, but two specialists in the rehabilitation of sporty or active children. 

Vicky and Natalie both based here at Select Physio have completed an extensive post graduate training course and are Kids Back 2 Sport qualified on how to assess and rehabilitate children back into sporting activities.

Having this specialism is very important when it comes to having such a fabulous kids sporting community in Worcestershire. There are so many factors that influence a child’s development through their adolescent years, such as diet, sleep, puberty, sporting level, training load, and mental health. It is our awareness of all these factors, combined with our knowledge of their physical development, which tells us that “kids are not mini adults” and as such they can’t be treated as mini adults when we’re looking at how they train for sporting activities or how we rehabilitate them after injury.

You only have to look at the kids coming out of the school gates to appreciate the variations in size within a year group. It’s not unusual to hear someone comment that their child is tall or short for their age, but what does this mean when we’re looking at their growth, their development and how that might impact them in the hobbies or sports that they choose through their adolescent years?

When children go to sports clubs they are often in age appropriate teams or groups, but the variation in physical and emotional development even within an age group can be significant and this has implications for what they can achieve and also the injuries they may sustain.

Children have different anatomy and injuries to adults, and therefore, need a different approach to treatment by health professionals who have experience in being able to accurately diagnose and rehabilitate children.

As mentioned in our previous blog post Worcestershire has a rich source of sporting activities for young people, famous for cricket, rowing, rugby, football and hockey just to name a few. There are also a wide range of other outdoor activities available locally such as horse riding and World renowned  mountain biking.

Dealing with children’s injuries requires a very specialist approach and understanding. You have to ensure that rehabilitation is paramount and must be tailored to the unique needs of young athletes.

  1. Growth and Development – Children are not just small adults; their bodies are continually growing and developing. This growth impacts their musculoskeletal system, making it more vulnerable to certain types of injuries such as growth plate fractures and overuse injuries. Physiotherapists must consider the ongoing development of bones, muscles, and joints to create a treatment plan that supports healthy growth while promoting recovery.


  1. Different Injury Patterns – The types of injuries children sustain in sports often differ from those seen in adults. While adults are more prone to chronic conditions like tendinitis or ligament tears due to repetitive strain, children are more likely to suffer from acute injuries and growth-related issues. For instance, conditions such as Osgood-Schlatter disease, a common cause of knee pain in growing adolescents, require specific interventions that differ from those used to treat similar pain in adults.


  1. Psychological Considerations – Children and adolescents process injury and recovery differently than adults. They may experience fear, frustration, or anxiety about missing out on sports and social activities. Physiotherapists working with young athletes need to incorporate strategies that address these emotional and psychological aspects, using encouragement and positive reinforcement to keep the child motivated and engaged in their rehabilitation programme.


  1. Tailored Rehabilitation Exercises – The rehabilitation exercises prescribed to children must be age-appropriate and engaging and sport relevant. Unlike adults, who may be more disciplined in following a routine, children benefit from exercises that are fun and interactive. Physiotherapists often incorporate games and activities into the therapy sessions to make the process enjoyable and to improve compliance.


  1. Family Involvement – Family plays a crucial role in a child’s recovery process. Physiotherapists often work closely with parents or guardians to educate them on the injury and the rehabilitation plan. This involvement ensures that the child receives consistent support and encouragement at home, which is vital for a successful recovery.


  1. Preventing Re-injury – For young athletes, preventing re-injury is as important as the initial recovery. Children are often eager to return to their sports, which can lead to premature resumption of physical activities. Physiotherapists must educate both the child and their parents about the importance of following the rehabilitation plan thoroughly to prevent re-injury and ensure long-term health.

Physiotherapy for children recovering from sporting injuries requires a specialised approach that considers their unique physiological and psychological needs. By understanding these differences, physiotherapists can provide effective, tailored care that supports the child’s recovery and long-term well-being. Ensuring a comprehensive and engaging rehabilitation plan not only aids in physical recovery but also fosters a positive attitude towards injury management and prevention in young athletes.

By acknowledging the distinctions in injury patterns, growth and development, and psychological considerations, physiotherapists can significantly impact the recovery outcomes for children, helping them return to their sporting activities safely and confidently.

If you would like to speak to Vicky or Natalie, regarding our paediatrics Musculoskeletal specialsim please do not hesitate to get in touch.