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Intensive soccer training in the youth significantly increases risk of bow legs
Football is one of the most popular sports in most countries around the world. Even small children can often not be separated from the ball. However, if you train too intensely in youth, you have a significantly increased risk of developing bow legs. This has been shown in a recent study.
Sport promotes health
No question: sport is healthy. Regular training sessions can help you lose weight and build up your fitness and help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure. One sport that is particularly well suited to the latter is soccer. As a study by Danish researchers has shown, playing football to lower blood pressure is just as effective as medication. But if you train too intensely, you have an increased risk of developing bow legs.
Scientific study is presented
Experts are still arguing about whether intensive soccer play leads to bow legs in youth or whether the selection of young players brings with them the increased number of bow legs in the group, because they can doubtless dribble better.
Dr. Florian Wolf, specialist in trauma surgery and orthopedics from the 3D surgery working group at the Clinic for General, Trauma and Reconstructive Surgery at the Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich, made a statement at the international congress of the Society for Orthopedic Traumatological Sports Medicine (GOTS) scientific study.
The result: intensive soccer training in adolescence significantly increases the risk of developing bow legs.
Greater strain due to the O-deformation
"The main reason for this seems to be the still active, open growth gaps," explains Wolf in a GOTS communication published by the Science Information Service (idw).
"These regularly close for girls on the 14th / 15th Year of life, in boys only until the age of 16. Intensive training with repeated microtraumas may have damaging effects on the shinbone head, ”said the expert.
"This can later result in deformities on the shin."
As stated in the communication, the structures on the inside of the knee joint are subjected to greater stress due to the O-deformation. With increasing age, this can lead to osteoarthritis of the knee and later even to the need for an artificial knee joint.
Therefore, patients with bow legs or pain in the inner knee joint space should undergo a careful clinical and radiological examination with analysis of the leg geometry.
Consider correcting the axis of the legs
According to the medical experts, an axis correction of the legs should be considered from a certain degree of deviation or complaints.
"Depending on the location of the deformity, we intervene on the tibia or thigh near the knee, rarely on both bones," explains Wolf.
"With the classic method, the correct leg axis is fixed after cutting the bone with plates," says the specialist.
"If the feet are very far inwards or outwards when the bones are twisted, the hips are set unfavorably or there is even a difference in leg length, correction with intramedullary nails is preferred."
In particular, the conversion and / or extension operations with intramedullary nails can be carried out with the smallest access, so to speak, minimally invasively.
According to the information, the patients then walk an average of four to six weeks with partial exercise on walking supports and can then be active again.
A slight bow leg position, with no persistent symptoms, should first be treated conservatively.
Avoiding special peak loads, strengthening the muscles, increasing the outer edge of the shoe and administering anti-inflammatory drugs are recommended.
"We would like to discuss our results on competitive sports with clubs and sports and training scientists in order to identify the affected young athletes at an early stage, if necessary, and to implement appropriate adjustments to the training," says the doctor.
Results not transferable to popular sports
For their study, the researchers in the 3D surgery group at LMU Munich systematically analyzed the existing literature and then summarized the results scientifically.
The analysis included international studies with over 1,300 young male athletes in football and comparable control groups.
Incidentally, the phenomenon of bow legs in adolescent competitive athletes is also described to a lesser extent in other high-impact sports such as tennis, handball and volleyball. Here too, frequent, rapid changes of direction are suspected as the cause of bow legs.
However, the researchers expressly emphasize that the results cannot be transferred to grassroots sport - on the contrary: grassroots sport is important and beneficial for the development of adolescents! (ad)