Jock Doc

Injury in teen soccer player may not show up on an X-ray, but it could be serious

Megan Rapinoe holds the trophy at the end of the Women’s World Cup championship Sunday.
Megan Rapinoe holds the trophy at the end of the Women’s World Cup championship Sunday. AP

Q. My daughter is a 13-year-old soccer player who last week felt a painful pop in her left hip while she was playing.

She had to be helped off the field. We did X-rays at urgent care and nothing was broken. She was given crutches and her pain is mildly better but she still has trouble walking. If the X-rays did not show anything, why is she not better yet? What should be our next step?

A. In soccer athletes who have finished growing, it is common to tear a hip muscle such as a flexor or adductor while playing.

In younger athletes, the growth plates of the pelvis or hip may be weaker then the muscles or tendons.

This means if a similar injury occurs, a fracture through the growth plate may occur rather than a muscle or tendon tear. If the growth plate fracture occurs, it may not be evident on an X-ray unless it is out of place.

Depending upon where the injury occurs, this could require rest, crutches or even surgery. An MRI scan may be helpful in establishing the extent of the injury.

I recommend you see a pediatric orthopedic surgeon as quickly as possible to establish an accurate diagnosis and get your daughter back playing as soon as it is safe.

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Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to HarlanS@baptisthealth.net.

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