Summer is the perfect time for children and adolescents to get out and be active, whether it's in a friendly game of kickball or an official youth sports league. While your children spend the sunny season playing their favorite team sports, it's important that they stay safe while doing it. Sports injuries in children are very common during this time, so taking proper precautions can help keep your young athletes safe. That's why we've outlined five common youth sports injuries you should look out for, and how you can prevent them.
1 - Little League Shoulder
One of the most common injuries in youth sports is referred to as the 'little league shoulder.' This overuse injury is caused by repetitive stress on the shoulder joint, and symptoms include pain and tenderness in the shoulder area. If your child complains of these symptoms, it's important to take them to a right away for treatment.
2 - Osgood-Schlatter Disease
Another common injury is called 'Osgood-Schlatter disease,' which affects the knee joint. This condition is characterized by pain and swelling in the knee, and usually affects children who are going through puberty. Treatment typically involves rest and ice, but if the pain is severe, your child may need to see an for further treatment. If your child plays contact sports like football or hockey, make sure that they wear the proper protective gear to avoid this injury.
3 - Ankle Sprains & Fractures
One of the most common injuries in all sports is an ankle sprain. This occurs when the ligaments that support the ankle are stretched or torn. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and bruising in the affected area. Treatment typically involves RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) followed by physical therapy to help rehabilitate the ankle.
are also common, especially in high-impact sports like running and basketball. Symptoms of a fracture include severe pain, swelling, and bruising. If you suspect that your child has fractured their ankle, it's important to take them to the doctor right away for treatment.
4 - Shin Splints
Shin splints are a common sports injury that affects the lower leg, often affecting young athletes who play soccer. This overuse injury is caused by excess use of the muscles and tendons in the shin, and symptoms include pain, tenderness, and swelling in the affected area. Treatment typically involves RICE followed by physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles and tendons around the shin.
5 - Concussions
A concussion is a type of brain injury that can occur from a blow to the head or body. Concussions can range from mild to severe, and symptoms may not appear immediately. That's why it's important to watch for signs of a concussion after any head injury, even if your child seems fine at first. Symptoms of a concussion include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, and memory loss. If you suspect that your child has a concussion, it's important to take them to the doctor right away for treatment.
Sports Injury Prevention in Children
While there are risks to any sport, there are some steps that you can take to help prevent sports injuries in your children. Some things you can do are:
- Ensure safe surfaces and equipment - First, make sure that your child is playing on a safe surface and using the proper equipment. For example, if they're playing on a hard surface like concrete, make sure that they're wearing shoes with good shock absorption. If your child needs protective padding or guards, require them to put it on before they start and to keep it on the entire time.
- Have them warm up - It's also important to have your child warm up and stretch before playing any sport. This helps loosen their muscles and reduces the risk of injury. When muscles are tight, they're more likely to be injured.
- Make sure they're hydrated - Dehydration is one of the leading causes of sports injuries, so make sure that your child drinks plenty of fluids before, during, and after playing
- Listen to their body - Finally, it's important to listen to your child's body. Be sure to monitor your child while they're playing and watch for signs of fatigue. If they seem to be tiring or feeling pain, take a break so that they can rest. Pushing through the pain can only lead to further injury.
Summer gives children the opportunity to spend as much time playing in the sun as they can. But with physical activity comes injury risk. Don't let the possible risks deter you, physical activity and adequate sunlight are imperative for a child's physical and mental health. As long as you take proper precautions, you can help keep your child safe from sports injuries, and they can continue having the best summer yet.
is proud to offer to care for your child. We offer services ranging from to . If your young athlete does sustain a sports injury, put them in good hands with the orthopedic experts at . Our sports medicine doctors will treat your young athlete's sports injury, and help them to avoid recurrent injury so they can enjoy their summer of fun.
provides personalized care to patients across greater Pittsburgh, integrating primary and preventative care with sports medicine to offer a patient-centered approach. We offer services ranging from and to . If you are interested in or other solutions for injuries, online or reach out to us at (724) 527-2700. You can also visit our office located at 2057 State Route 130, Suite #1, Jeannette, PA 15644.