”Yoof’ Culture’ – ‘Badminton Magazine’ October 2004 Issue

So much water has passed under the bridge since I last wrote; Wimbledon, the Olympics,  Euro 2004 (and yes I do regret the snidely remarks I made in my last article about our footballers being tired!).

I have had an increasing number of emails from injured readers – most of which are printable, (Alan from Burnley, thanks for the offer but I am busy for the next 20 years!).  But please feel free to carry on with the questions – I try to answer them all but can’t guarantee I’ll be of any help!

I am getting a number of emails from junior players which has started to alarm me.  My article in January’s issue has sparked a forest fire of reports of ill health – the majority of which are limb injuries in the under 18s.  I fear something must be done – especially if we are going to build on our recent success as a badminton playing nation.

To set about this task I did some soul searching – after all, I was a teenager once too.  Sadly, all I can remember are brief snapshots of my teenage life (Duran Duran, the beautiful Clare Webster, Glandular Fever and Acne) so I thought I’d make some enquiries and question the poor injured juniors that have been filling my ‘Inbox’ for the last few months.

Regrettably, some of the juniors I spoke to had developmental anomalies and there are two common pathologies in ‘athletic’ teenagers, both of which affect the knees.  The first is Osteochondromalacia Patellae which presents itself  underneath the surface of the Patella (knee cap).  The X-Ray images show a roughening of the inferior surface.  This roughening interferes with the tracking of the patella apparatus and causes pain and inflammation of the knee.  Osteochondromalacia Patellae has a higher incidence in female teenagers.

The second pathology, standing boldly in the male teenage corner, is the wonderfully named Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease.  This develops when the quadriceps tendon seemingly over-pulls on it’s insertion which is situated just below the knee.  This traction forces the body to lay down more bone and the sufferer reports pain (from the associated tendonitis) and bony prominence (knobbly knees).

The cause of these conditions is unknown, however, posture, genetics and over activity are widely cited as being contributing factors.  Sadly, badminton is the type of sport that places a great deal of strain on the knees and therefore Osgood-Schlatter’s and Osteochondromalacia end future playing careers prematurely.  Sadder still, there is no known treatment for the conditions.  There are many therapies that reportedly treat the symptoms but nothing substantial has been studied.  My advice would be to treat the ‘active’ phases as you would another sporting injury – rest, ice, compression, elevation, re-hydration and proper rehabilitation.

Thankfully, nearly all of the juniors I spoke to reported ‘minor’ injuries of tendons, muscles and, occasionally, joints.  These injuries are directly related to not warming up correctly, bad posture, poor diet/dehydration, bad playing habits (i.e. poor technique) or ill fitting/poor use of equipment.  In the few that have seemingly good badminton career prospects there was evidence that they were overtraining which is number one in the ‘coaching manual’ sin list!

On this rather dull note I will sign off for another issue, leaving me wondering still what the delicious Clare Webster might be up to!!!!


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