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For Parents Feeling helpless with DS

Trackandgymmum

New Member
Proud Parent
Oct 16, 2020
5
46
Country
Australia
I am new here, and wantto ask your experiences and words of wisdom with my 14y/o son... Prepare for a long history, sigh..

For starters, son does not do gym, her younger sister does. But during son's injuries, this forum has given me most help, advice and comfort.

DS always been sporty and active. In early school years did little bit of gym, soccer, swimming, cricket, aussie rules football (weare in Aus). Forthe last 3 years Track and Field, and aussie rules football, have been his sports of choice.

He never had any injuries or pains, but at are 6 I took him to the podiatrist as I noticed knock knees/ pronated feet. Knocked knees are very visible on my husband's mother and sister. Podiatrist at the time gave him custom made orthotics, which we used for about 2 years. They didn't make a visible difference.

In May/June 2018 he first suffered terrible knee pain at the start of the football season, but that passed within a month, and didn't return, and se didn't see anyone. In Oct/Nov 2018, at the start of the track season, he had lower back pain for around 4 weeks. We saw physio, who gavehome excercises, which seemed to help and back pain stopped.

In Feb 2019 towards the end of the track season, aged 13, his left heel started hurting. Diagnosed byphysio as Severs. This was pretty bad for 2 months, but somehow he managed to even compete at nationals in April.

During winter 2019 left heel bothered him here and there at football, but not enough to miss games or training.

In Sep 2019, at the very start of track season, the right heel started hurting. It was so bad until xmas, son didn't do any jumping or sprinting. Instead we started doing more throws and athletics coach got him in second strength session a week, where they were doing more stuff with weights etc.

Just before xmas, we saw a new podiatrist, got custom made orthotics and by new year, things started to feel brighter. During January 2020 summer hols, DS was able to try jumping, hurdling, and sprinting. I vaguely remember he mentioned once or twice hislower back hurting, but wasn't concerned, as we were just wanting to get him out of severs.

Start of Feb 2020, he did a two day state wide comp, during which lower back started hurting and following week, it didn't settle.

10th of Feb 2020 he was diagnosed with L5 stress fracture on his right side. Diagnosed by sports Dr with MRI. At 9 weeks he started physio, which he is still doing 8 months on. At 12 weeks said he could start jogging program, as he had had no pain since the initial diagnoses week. Running seemed to bring him "feel" his back, we reduced jogging once a week 10min only. At 16 weeks had repeat MRI, which showed fracture healed but bone odema still there. He kept feeling the fracture spot, so in JulyI said he won't run until we have completed the month CT scan. Until mid August CT scan, he was doing once a week physio (strength) and once a week clinical pilates, stationary bike at home, and some home excercises. No pain.

Mid August 2020 CT scan showed full healing. We had high hopes and son was prepared to return to training slowly and continue work at physio. 2 months later, he still "feels" hisback every now and then after running, and hasn't been able to progress running.

Then, 6 weeks ago, his right knee started hurting. Its like a vicious cycle, he rests a week, no pain, and then goes running, and within first 5min warm up, the knee pain starts. Pilates physio pointed out that his knee(s) roll in when he runs. This can be seen with a trained eye only, as his running technique is great. I can see it in a slomo video.

Now, I am starting to feel hopeless, as is he. I have made the theory, that he has knock knees (This is quite visible when he stands freely), which caused overpronated feet, which cause pressure on lower back, caused the fracture (?), and now give him knee pain. Where do we go from here? I feel like the worst mother in history, why didn't I get his knees/posture thoroughly fixed when he was younger. He is at the end of his puberty now (age 14y 7m) ,not sure if will grow more in height. We are so tired of trying to wait and I honestly feel no amount of stretching or excercise will fix the cycle, if it's his bonestructure and the knee is sitting on a tilted angle.

I'm not even sure what I am asking, anyexperience, recommendations, advice, whom to see... Thank you so much for reading
 

Madden3

Active Member
Proud Parent
Aug 24, 2013
796
47
Country
USA
Hi, first, I completely relate to the feelings of mom guilt. I have two athlete sons and a long history of injuries between them. But you did not cause any of this to happen to your son. I do suggest, try to turn those feelings of guilt to action. I have found that when there is no clear medical/doctor ordered path, what works best is to follow my instincts.

I do not know what doctors or HC system is like there. My personal experience is that finding a doctor who really listens and considers everything thoughtfully is very hard. The system is set up for them to spend so little time with each patient. But I do think your instinct that there is something systemic going on is worth following up on with someone who will look at the situation wholistically. Even if your son's knocked knees cannot be "fixed" there are probably ways to lesson the ill effects. I am not sure who such a person might be, doctor or someone else. But there is a long history here and a whole person that needs to be considered. Fixing each thing individually has not worked so far, so maybe it is time to look at it as a whole.

I personally have never been to a chiropractor nor has anyone in my family. But I know many rational people who swear by this treatment.
I do have experience with yoga, and I can tell you that when I did yoga frequently with a good teacher I felt the healthiest and strongest of my adult life. (And yes, I know your son is 14 and if he is anything like my 14 year old there is no way he would do yoga. Just throwing it out there.)

But I do think that with young athletes, a lot of these types of injuries are because the coaching and conditioning strategies are very result oriented rather than about building an all-over healthier body. And this is nothing against your son's coaches who may be great. It's just an entirely different mindset in athletics vs. something like yoga.

I have seen myself the cascade effect of injury many times with my kids. Pain or weakness etc. in one place leads to a problem in a completely different place. It may be your son needs a much more prolonged rest from any high impact sports. Has he ever considered anything aside track and field? What about swimming, water polo, climbing?

One last thing. Posture is a something that is going on all the time and sometimes the simplest things help. My friend who is a physical therapist noticed my 17 year old son was hunching. She asked to see his room. Within minutes showed us why he needed to change his school-issued chomebook set up. Investing $10 in a keyboard so he could use some books to raise the chromebook to eye-level has already worked wonders. She also showed him some quick and easy exercises he does every day with a roller.

Also my son has to wear inserts to correct pronation. He also does track. He has a set of inserts for his training shoes and his regular shoes and he has learned to always be wearing one or the other for any prolonged walking (not just around the house.) Some people would need inserts even then.
 

kendo348

Member
Proud Parent
Aug 5, 2019
127
Country
USA
My suggestion, based on my own experience, would be to look for a DO. A DO can offer chiropractic adjustments but is also trained holistically, and they tend to be inclined to take the time to uncover a systemic issue. If you can find one who works independently from insurance and can afford it, all the better as they will be free to take as much time as needed and treat in whatever way is best.
 

Trackandgymmum

New Member
Proud Parent
Oct 16, 2020
5
46
Country
Australia
Hi, first, I completely relate to the feelings of mom guilt. I have two athlete sons and a long history of injuries between them. But you did not cause any of this to happen to your son. I do suggest, try to turn those feelings of guilt to action. I have found that when there is no clear medical/doctor ordered path, what works best is to follow my instincts.

I do not know what doctors or HC system is like there. My personal experience is that finding a doctor who really listens and considers everything thoughtfully is very hard. The system is set up for them to spend so little time with each patient. But I do think your instinct that there is something systemic going on is worth following up on with someone who will look at the situation wholistically. Even if your son's knocked knees cannot be "fixed" there are probably ways to lesson the ill effects. I am not sure who such a person might be, doctor or someone else. But there is a long history here and a whole person that needs to be considered. Fixing each thing individually has not worked so far, so maybe it is time to look at it as a whole.

I personally have never been to a chiropractor nor has anyone in my family. But I know many rational people who swear by this treatment.
I do have experience with yoga, and I can tell you that when I did yoga frequently with a good teacher I felt the healthiest and strongest of my adult life. (And yes, I know your son is 14 and if he is anything like my 14 year old there is no way he would do yoga. Just throwing it out there.)

But I do think that with young athletes, a lot of these types of injuries are because the coaching and conditioning strategies are very result oriented rather than about building an all-over healthier body. And this is nothing against your son's coaches who may be great. It's just an entirely different mindset in athletics vs. something like yoga.

I have seen myself the cascade effect of injury many times with my kids. Pain or weakness etc. in one place leads to a problem in a completely different place. It may be your son needs a much more prolonged rest from any high impact sports. Has he ever considered anything aside track and field? What about swimming, water polo, climbing?

One last thing. Posture is a something that is going on all the time and sometimes the simplest things help. My friend who is a physical therapist noticed my 17 year old son was hunching. She asked to see his room. Within minutes showed us why he needed to change his school-issued chomebook set up. Investing $10 in a keyboard so he could use some books to raise the chromebook to eye-level has already worked wonders. She also showed him some quick and easy exercises he does every day with a roller.

Also my son has to wear inserts to correct pronation. He also does track. He has a set of inserts for his training shoes and his regular shoes and he has learned to always be wearing one or the other for any prolonged walking (not just around the house.) Some people would need inserts even then.
Thank you so much for taking time to response. Yes I agree that although the Sports Dr we have seen (for the L5 stressie) at the sports medicine clinic has been great, they don't really consider all factors and underlying influences. They seem to assume it's due to overtraining or because of certain sports. It was always a doubt at the back of my mind to think over training caused the fracture, as because of extremely painful severs, DS did minimal training 4 months prior the fracture.

I think chiro suggestion is good. If I'm able to find a good chiro, they can probably see the imbalances in his body and make further suggestions.

I agree with you re yoga and holistic approach to training. Coaches tend to just train a certain still, probably don't realise how important the overall balance is.

I think I am feeling so stressed and worried, as it feels like we are in a waiting game now. There is no plan of action. Lower back is meant to be healed now, but why does he still feels it, when he hasn't even attempted returning to sports. He is also a lot stronger now after 6 months strenghth training with the physio. That's the reason Im almost ready to see an ortho surgeon to hear an opinion from them.

The physio is great though. I messaged her yesterday, and she said she would talk to both the Sports Dr and the pilates physio, and see what they all think of the knock knee situation.
 
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Trackandgymmum

New Member
Proud Parent
Oct 16, 2020
5
46
Country
Australia
My suggestion, based on my own experience, would be to look for a DO. A DO can offer chiropractic adjustments but is also trained holistically, and they tend to be inclined to take the time to uncover a systemic issue. If you can find one who works independently from insurance and can afford it, all the better as they will be free to take as much time as needed and treat in whatever way is best.
kendo348, what is a DO? (Sorry the term is not known to me here in Aus)
 

Trackandgymmum

New Member
Proud Parent
Oct 16, 2020
5
46
Country
Australia
kendo348, what is a DO? (Sorry the term is not known to me here in Aus)
kendo348, doyou mean Orthopedic Dr? Would Orthopedic surgeon be the same? At the Sports Medicine clinic, where we have seen a Sports Dr for his back injury for the last 8 months, there are some Orthopedic surgeons, some of them seem to be knee specialist.
 

Pineapple_Lump

Coach
Coach
Proud Relative
Judge
Jan 31, 2008
1,100
Sorry to hear of the ongoing problems. I don't have any real advice just wanted to say this caught my interest. I just watched an old webinar lecture from Phil Cossens (GA MAG team physio at the time) about injuries and their likelihood to occur at a certain point after breaks/ reduced training due to injury. He mentioned the need to train consistently to avoid injury (maintain muscle fitness) and consideration for time to build that up when breaks do occur. Very interesting statistical correlation between when the injuries occur after breaks and the types of injuries that do. Perhaps something to also think about.
 
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Trackandgymmum

New Member
Proud Parent
Oct 16, 2020
5
46
Country
Australia
Sorry to hear of the ongoing problems. I don't have any real advice just wanted to say this caught my interest. I just watched an old webinar lecture from Phil Cossens (GA MAG team physio at the time) about injuries and their likelihood to occur at a certain point after breaks/ reduced training due to injury. He mentioned the need to train consistently to avoid injury (maintain muscle fitness) and consideration for time to build that up when breaks do occur. Very interesting statistical correlation between when the injuries occur after breaks and the types of injuries that do. Perhaps something to also think about.
Thisis a great point too, thank you. This mayvery well be one of the contributing factors. DS was on very limited training for 3-4 months, then did a big comp, and back pain started. And then again now, trying to get back to running after a very long break... I will try and find that webinar lecture.
 
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Pineapple_Lump

Coach
Coach
Proud Relative
Judge
Jan 31, 2008
1,100
Thisis a great point too, thank you. This mayvery well be one of the contributing factors. DS was on very limited training for 3-4 months, then did a big comp, and back pain started. And then again now, trying to get back to running after a very long break... I will try and find that webinar lecture.

It's only available to GA technical members, so if you are not a coach/judge then you won't be able to access - I would have included the link if I could :(
 
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&bs

Coach
Coach
Former Gymnast
Judge
Club Owner
Dec 18, 2013
46
Country
Australia
kendo348, doyou mean Orthopedic Dr? Would Orthopedic surgeon be the same? At the Sports Medicine clinic, where we have seen a Sports Dr for his back injury for the last 8 months, there are some Orthopedic surgeons, some of them seem to be knee specialist.

I think she might mean an Osteopath, but the difference is in the US they are a trained medical doctor whereas in Australia they are not.