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Preventing Sports Injuries In Kids

According to Johns Hopkins research, more than 3.5 million children ages 14 and younger get hurt annually playing sports or participating in recreational activities. Sports injuries in kids can range from pain and inflammation to stress fractures. For younger children, specifically those who have not reached puberty, researchers have linked the prevalence of injury to a variety of factors, which we’ll examine in today’s post.
There is a growing trend for young kids to start their competitive sports careers earlier. This results in a rise in the number of overuse injuries happening to young athletes.

Common examples of these type of sports injuries include:
● stress fractures
● tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
● swimmer’s shoulder (rotator cuff tendonitis)
● shin splints
● knee pain (patellofemoral)
● IT band syndrome
● plantar fasciitis

Young kids are focusing on single sport specialization versus spending more time engaging in free play or trying out a variety of sports, which increases their risk of injury. Overuse injury, previously more common in adults, refers to injury to a muscle, bone, tendon or ligament which is subjected to a sustained stress and/or repeated actions without adequate time for the body to heal.

Help your child avoid injury by following these guidelines

● Use proper gear and equipment. Kids Sports
●Play smart: Athletes should avoid specializing in one sport until they have reached puberty. Children should be encouraged to try a variety of sports.
● Rest Up:  Athletes should take at least 1 day off per week and a combined 2 to 3 months off per year from a specific sport (which may be divided throughout the year).
● Cross Train: Athletes should vary workouts and include multiple different activities.

Remember, our bodies are designed to move in many planes of motion. Repetitive movements performed in only one plane creates imbalances and weakness which increases the risk for injury. Proper cross training involves activities in various categories of movement:
Sagittal Plane of Motion-Divides the body into right and left halves. This is forward and backward movements such as running, forward lunges and bicep curls.
Frontal Plane of Motion-Divides the body into anterior and posterior sides. This includes side to side movements such as snow angel or lateral lunges.
Transverse Plane of Motion–Divides the body into top and bottom halves. This involves horizontal abduction/adduction and rotational movements such as baseball swing.

While not all injuries can be prevented, following these guidelines will reduce risk.  If your child does get injured, our multi specialty wellness clinic is here to help. Combining family medicine with specialized treatment options such as physical therapy or chiropractic care, our team will help your child recover quickly and get back in the game. If your child is in need of a sports physical, schedule an appointment today!

Emily Franklin, PTA

Emily Franklin, PTA


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