Child Orthopedics

Frequently Asked Questions

Our 13-year old daughter is involved in soccer. Her pediatrician just discovered that she has scoliosis. I thought kids who were active in sports didn't get stuff like this. Is it because she always kicks the ball with her right leg or what?

Being strongly right- or left-side dominant has never been linked with scoliosis. Scientists have examined whether or not overloading the spine on one side could lead to a spinal curvature. This has never been proven. It's much more likely that a genetic factor is the key player in the development of scoliosis of unknown cause among children and teens. This condition is called adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). Not all studies support this theory, so researchers keep looking for possible risk factors that might be contributing to the development of AIS. A recent study from Greece even looked to see if exercise or being involved in organized sports might be a predictive factor. After reviewing the cases of over 2,000 adolescents, there was nothing to indicate a causative link between sports activity and scoliosis. So, it's back to the drawing board and more studies to try and sort this all out. Hopefully, modifiable risk factors will be identified and a program of education and prevention put into place to reduce the incidence and severity of this condition.

Eustathios Kenanidis, MD, et al. Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis and Exercising. Is There Truly a Liaison? In Spine. September 15, 2008. Vol. 33. No. 20. Pp. 2160-2165.

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