It’s important as parents, coaches and mentors that we encourage kids to live an active healthy life. This naturally includes participation in sports. However, all physical activities come with the risk of injury, especially as kids are prone to tumbles, scrapes, bumps and bruises.
Being prepared for potential sports injuries is critical in that fast and effective treatment can often limit the severity of the injury. That being said, here are 5 of the most common sports injuries for kids and preventative measures you can take to avoid them.
1. Heat Related Illness
Kids can experience dehydration and or heat exhaustion if they are over exerting themselves in particularly hot weather coupled with high humidity. Factors such as body weight and not being accustomed to physical activity in the heat can increase the chances of a heat related illness. Signs include headache, stomach pain, nausea and thirst. All children participating in sports should practice proper hydration to prevent such an event from occurring,
2. Shoulder Dislocations
Shoulder dislocations happen when the arm is forced backwards and one hears a pop. The result is immense pain and limited movement. To ensure that the shoulder heals properly, only a trained physician should put it back in place. Young athletes tend to be prone to these injuries as their joints are looser. However, physical therapy can help strengthen shoulder muscles and prevent a repeat dislocation.
3. Torn ACL
A brunt force to the outside of the knee or sudden and extreme movement from the athlete themselves can cause a torn ACL. One will often feel a popping or tearing feeling in the knee and have trouble bearing weight. As most ACL tears require surgery, one should consult with an orthopedic surgeon or sports medicine physician as soon as possible.
There are over 250,000 sports related concussions per year among student athletes. They are most common in contact sports. Symptoms include headaches, slurred speech, mood swings, loss of memory, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, as well as confusion. While concussions are a serious brain injury, they can easily be left undetected. Proper concussion protocol must be followed after an event with head trauma occurs. The only treatment for a concussion is rest from physical activities and electronic devices for a long period of time before returning to play.
5. Sprains & Strains
Injuries to the hand, wrist and ankle are all too common in active children. Most are the result of a fall. Swelling, pain and lack of movement are sure signs of an injury. However, immediate rest, icing, compression and elevation tend to be most effective for both sprains and strains of any kind. Sprains affect ligaments, while strains impact muscles and tendons. To determine if it is a break or fracture, an X-ray must be preformed and a doctor will decide if a cast or bracing is needed.
It should be noted that over use injuries in one area of the body can be avoided by mixing up the sporting activities a child participates in. Additionally, kids are at more of a risk for injury if they aren’t used to being active as their body is not conditioned for physical activity.
Dr. Grossfeld has over 25 years of experience in orthopedic medicine and is a double board-certified orthopedic surgeon in sports medicine. To get more information about sports related injuries, contact Dr. Stacie Grossfeld today by calling 502-212-2663 to make an appointment. Orthopaedic Specialists has two convenient locations in Louisville, KY and is currently accepting new patients.