The Most Common Pediatric Sports Injuries and Treatment
According to statistics presented by John Hopkins University, over three million children under the age of fourteen are injured each year while playing sports. Overall, a third of all childhood injuries occur while playing sports, either competitively or recreationally. Many of the injuries are due to overuse, but some are considered emergency situations due to contact or other accident.
Fractures are among the most common of pediatric sports injuries. There are two types of fracture that typically occur in adolescents: Salter-Harris Fractures and Apophyseal Avulsion Fractures.
- Salter-Harris Fractures: These are local to the growth plates in immature bones, and have five different classifications, from Type I to Type V. Proper treatment for healing is necessary to avoid any growth arrest within the growth plate.
- Apophyseal Avulsion Fractures: This fracture occurs when tendons forcefully contract away from their joining bones, most often in the pelvis or hip. For most, rest and physical therapy is the only treatment required, but some more severe injuries require surgery.
Whether treatment is simply rest and pain management or requires surgical intervention, every fracture injury should be evaluated by a doctor to ensure proper healing. Sometimes, if the patient does not show progress in healing with more conservative measures, surgery may still be necessary. Improper healing in adolescents and children can lead to lifelong complications that hinder mobility.
Injuries from Overuse
Overuse injuries are typically seen in pediatric patients who play in advanced leagues or more competitive sports. Although not impossible, these injuries are rarely seen in patients who have been playing backyard games alone.
The most common overuse injuries seen in adolescents include:
- Peridotites (also known as “shin splints”)
- Generalized shoulder cuff pain
- Little League Elbow
- Osgood-Schlatter Disease
- Sinding-Larsen-Johansson Disease
- Sever’s Disease
The treatment plan will depend on the exact injury, as well as its severity. For minor issues which present low to moderate pain and mobility limitations, conservative treatment such as rest, therapy, and pain relief is always the first choice. Most overuse injuries in pediatric patients are self-limiting and prone to natural healing by the end of puberty.
However, if an overuse injury is severe in either pain or restriction of mobility, it may warrant surgical treatment. In pediatric sports medicine, surgery is (almost) always a second choice, restricted to only instances when initial conservative methods do not show progressive healing.
If you believe your child has suffered a sports-related injury, it is imperative to have it evaluated quickly to receive proper diagnosis and care. Contact us today to set up an appointment.