Monday, March 28, 2016

Scoliosis in Sports

    Scoliosis is a spine deformity in the side-to-side (or lateral) plane of more than 10 degrees of angulation.  The majority of the time this occurs spontaneously during the pubertal growth spurt in an individual with normal spine development, up until that time.  Currently this type of scoliosis is called “idiopathic”, meaning there is no known cause.  However genetic researchers are finding more and more associations between patients’ genetics and the development of scoliosis.  

     There is nothing the patient or caregiver did, or didn’t do, to cause the scoliosis to occur.  Most individuals with idiopathic scoliosis are involved, to some degree, in athletic endeavors whether it be recreational or high-level competition at the time they are diagnosed with scoliosis.  Often sports are interwoven into their day-to-day activities, so a new diagnosis of scoliosis raises questions about what sporting activities, and level of participation, a person with scoliosis may participate.  Despite the lateral curvature of the spine, the bony stability of the spine is normal, without instability.  

     There is no increased risk of damage to the spine during athletic participation when compared to a similar individual whose spine is absolutely straight.  We encourage all patients with scoliosis to be as athletically active as they desire, as the benefits of an active lifestyle are well-known.  Even patients whose scoliosis requires brace use we encourage sports participation.  The brace can be removed, they can participate in their sport then the brace can be re-applied after completion of the sporting event. 

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