Knee pain in young athletes is very common and the most common injury I saw while working Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Most young athletes are performing movements in their sport that are too difficult for their level of strength and motor control and the body compensates with passive structures such as ligaments. Injuries occurs when the compensations continue for a long time and an overuse injury occurs or a sudden overload.
A simple fitness program can help any young athlete learn how to move properly to decrease compensatory patterns. This will allow the athlete to improve their strength naturally in their sport, since they will be using their active structures (muscles).
Areas of focus for a fitness program should include: 1) Pelvic and Trunk Stability 2)Dynamic knee control
*Teaching/activating hip external rotation is the most challenging aspect of this program as it is difficult to visualize for young kids and using external cues instead of internal cues is usually best to get the desired performance/outcome.