Youth Athletes & Scheuermann’s Disease

Scheuermanns Disease

Scheuermann’s Disease, or Scheuermann’s Kyphosis, is a condition that is seen in some adolescents that involves an outward kyphosis, or curvature, of the upper spine with or without pain. The severity of the curve may affect the ability of some youths to participate in certain athletic activities.

Because more and more research is showing that maintaining spine health in youth can help to deter problems later in life, The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration wanted to share some information about Scheuermann’s Disease, how it develops and what children and their parents should look out for. Knowing this information can help to preserve positive spine health for as long as possible.

How it Develops

The rounding of the spine occurs when the anterior portions of a few vertebrae develop more slowly than the posterior segments of the bones. A wedging of the vertebrae occurs that creates an arc of at least five degrees in the spine and a curved prominence in the upper back. The part of the spine that is usually involved includes the seventh through ninth thoracic vertebrae. Less commonly, the wedging may appear in the junction between the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae.

There is no known cause for Scheuermann’s Kyphosis, but it is thought to occur because of an abnormality in the vertebral growth plates. The condition is more commonly seen in males, and it usually develops at the end of a major growth spurt.

Sports & Scheuermann’s

Most physicians agree that sports participation in athletes with Scheuermann’s Kyphosis should be permitted as long as strenuous activity is not causing the adolescent to experience back pain. Young athletes with the condition should be regularly monitored by a physician at least every six months in order to make sure that excessive strain from engaging in sports is not causing injury to the areas of the spine that are affected by the curve.

Treatment Options

Participation in sports and other activities may be hindered when adolescent patients are undergoing treatment to correct the spinal curve. Milder curves are treated with back braces, and more severe conditions may require fusion surgery of the spine. If surgical intervention is required, the young adult may not be able to return to rigorous athletics.

If you have a son, daughter or other loved one who may be experiencing an irregular amount of spinal discomfort, reach out to the spine surgeons at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration for a diagnosis and treatment opinion. Taking action as early as possible is the best chance for a positive outcome. Call 310-828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation today.