Heavy Soccer Playing Before Age 12 Tied to Hip Deformities
Monday, March 02, 2015 02:15 PM

In a study of Dutch professional footballers, a bone deformity at the hip was much more common among men who started playing the sport at least four times a week before age twelve.

If the bones of the hip don't develop normally during childhood, a so-called cam deformity can occur, with extra bone growing near the ball-shaped top of the femur, potentially leading to joint damage and pain.  Cam deformities begin to show up on X-rays in early adolescence, and tend to be more common among males and athletes in high-impact sports, the authors of the new study notes.

The study team found that 40 of the 63 footballers had some type of cam deformity in one or both hips, while 18 had a “pathological deformity.” Considering the 63 players’ total of 126 hips individually, 40 percent of those who had started playing in a professional club after age 12 had a cam deformity, compared to 64 percent of those who started before age 12.

For the hips, growth plates stay open until age 16 to 18, which is relatively late.  “During puberty and as a result of changing testosterone hormone balance, the growth plate weakens around the age of 12-13, making it even more sensitive to displacement or deformity.  Severe muscular training and high loading activities should be restricted until skeletal maturity for any joint and sport.”

Source:  http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/22/us-health-sport-soccer-hip-idUSKBN0KV1XX20150122