The Most Common Pediatric Sports Injuries and Treatment

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

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.

The PRICE Method of Handling Sports Injuries

The PRICE Method of Handling Sports Injuries

You’ve likely heard the various methods for preventing sports injuries: do some warm-up exercises, stretch, drink plenty of fluids, and don’t overdo it. However, injuries can still occur even if you are young, healthy, and take precautions. When those situations occur, it is vital to give proper care and rehabilitation to the injured area. For those injuries that mostly require self-treatment, the Harvard Medical School has provided a five-point program using the acronym PRICE: Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

Protection

If you have an open wound or a broken bone, a sterile bandage and a homemade splint respectively will help keep those healing tissues free from outside contamination. Sometimes, a little antibiotic salve and a bandage are sufficient, but more serious injuries require immediate medical attention.

Rest

Although you may feel restless because you can’t participate in your favorite activity, using the injured area too soon will only do further harm to the healing tissues. However, you can still exercise other parts of your body; for instance, if you injured your elbow playing tennis, you could either go on a walk or try an indoor exercise bike.

Ice

With its several beneficial effects as well as its affordability and accessibility, ice is a must-have when treating sports injuries, especially strains and sprains. Applying an ice pack on and off for the first few days after getting the injury will help reduce swelling and pain in the affected area.

Compression

Gently but firmly constricting the injured area will help reduce swelling, which can help prevent further complications. The key to compression is to compress it enough to where the blood flow is reduced, but not too much as to cut off circulation entirely, as the tissue still needs oxygen to survive. A doctor or physical therapist will help you learn proper wrapping techniques and placement so you can perform this at home.

Elevation

This step reduces fluid build-up, inflammation, pain, and swelling, and when combined with the above techniques, will help you get back to your sport of choice sooner. Keeping the affected region above your heart is all that’s required to elevate the injury. Grab a few pillows and make yourself comfortable.

Having the right knowledge, awareness, and tools is essential for any situation, especially in regards to a sports injuries. If you need more information or assistance in dealing with an injury, contact us and we will be happy to help.

Youth Injuries & Sport Care: ACL

Youth Injuries & Sport Care: ACL

There’s an old saying that says, “Youth is wasted on the young.” As you watch your kids hard at work on the playing field, most of the time you might marvel at what kind of punishment they can put themselves through in the prime of their youth. Unfortunately, that all may change the moment they encounter a sports injury. Most of the time, they are giving everything they have to the sport, and with coaching, the pressures to succeed and to dominate on the field, kids are a lot less willing to hold back. Because of this, a sports injury can wreak havoc on future performance in more ways that just one. With an injury comes the setback of building and maintaining a level of physical ability, but the mental trauma associated with such an injury can cause them to hold back in future events, hindering their once all-in athletic performance.

One of the most common injuries affects the anterior cruciate ligament, or as it is most commonly referred to, the ACL. The ACL is one of the most important ligaments in the range of motion as well as the strength of your knees. Most sports are heavily reliant upon the function of an athlete’s knees, not only in terms of strength, but also flexibility. This is why proper treatment of an injured ACL is of utmost importance. Thankfully, an ACL injury is no longer a career-ender, much less a permanently debilitating injury, due to advances in modern medicine.

Through the use of minimally-invasive, arthroscopic surgery, as well as combined treatment plans in pain management and physical therapy, recovery is shorter than it has ever been and the likelihood of repeated injury is also significantly reduced from even a few years ago. Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine has the technical experience as well as bedside manner you can rely on to get your young athlete back on the playing field, court, track, or floor doing what they love.

Contact us to get back on the road to recovery today!  Let us help your young athlete to achieve their goals and follow their dreams.

 

St. Louis Cardinals’ Alex Reyes Returns To DL with a Lat Strain

St. Louis Cardinals’ Alex Reyes Returns To DL with a Lat Strain

St. Louis Cardinals’ starting pitcher Alex Reyes is unfortunately back on the disabled list (DL) with a lat strain. He pitched only four innings against the Milwaukee Brewers on May 30, 2018.

Although Reyes initially told reporters after the game that he was not worried about the injury at the time, Cardinals’ general manager Michael Girsch told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the strain is “significant.” Girsch said the pitcher will miss at least a few games.

This is only the latest injury to plague Reyes. The May 30th game was Reyes’ return to baseball after being on the DL since September 2016 for a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), which required Tommy John Surgery.

What Is A Lat Strain?

A lat strain occurs when the latissimus dorsi is overstretched or torn. The latissimus dorsi is the broadest muscle of the back, and runs all the way from the top of the hip to the front of the upper arm near the shoulder’s ball-and-socket joint.

Some activities can increase the risk of a lat strain, including:

  • sports that require throwing motions, like baseball and softball
  • rowing
  • swimming
  • swinging a baseball bat or tennis racket
  • chopping wood
  • chin-ups and push-ups
  • activities that require constant, repeated lifting of the shoulders

Symptoms of a lat strain include:

  • pain below the shoulder blade
  • pain at the front of the shoulder
  • pain in the mid-back and down the side
  • numbness, tingling, and/or aching that extends down the arm to the third and fourth fingers
  • steady, constant pain (even when muscle is at rest)
  • Pain when reaching forward or lifting arms over your head

Lat strains are graded by severity. The three grades of strains are:

  • Grade 1: mild strain in which the muscle is overstretched but not torn.
  • Grade 2: moderate strain in which the muscle is partially torn.
  • Grade 3: severe strain in which the muscle is completely torn, or ruptured

Treatment and Recovery

Initial treatment for a lat strain involves a combination of treatments known as the RICE method. The acronym RICE stands for:

  • Rest: rest the injured muscle
  • Ice: apply ice for 20 minutes every hour when awake
  • Compression: wrap affected area with an Ace bandage to reduce inflammation
  • Elevation: elevate your back by sitting in a recliner, sofa, or upright chair to enhance the healing process

Treatment primarily consists of rest to allow time for proper healing. Ultrasound, light therapy, and electric stimulation can also be used to promote the healing of tissue. Physical therapy and exercise can restore the muscle’s strength and flexibility.

In cases where the muscle is completely torn, surgery may be required. Surgery can, in some cases, involve repairing the torn muscle with sutures. More severe cases may warrant a full latissimus dorsi reconstruction, in which case the torn muscle is removed and a donor tendon (either from the patient’s own body or a cadaver) is used to replace it.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and over-the-counter pain medications can help manage the pain. If the pain is too uncomfortable, your doctor may prescribe pain medication or muscle relaxants to provide you with some relief.

Recovery time for lat strains can range from a month to a year, depending on the severity of the injury and whether surgery is required.

Hope for Reyes

Girsch told the Post-Dispatch that they are still gathering information about the injury and don’t have an estimate yet for Reyes’ return.

There is still hope for Reyes’ pitching career, however. Other baseball pitchers have recovered from lat strains and returned from the DL to enjoy successful pitching careers. Jake Peavy of the Chicago White Sox suffered a lat strain in 2010 and required surgery. Peavy was on the DL for over a year, but was able to return to the sport and became an All-Star in 2012.

We Can Help

Missouri Orthopedics & Advanced Sports Medicine is dedicated to providing exceptional care to people of all ages. Our goal is to relieve pain and restore mobility and function so that you can return to your normal activities as quickly as possible. Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment today.

The 4 Most Common Wrist Fractures

The 4 Most Common Wrist Fractures

The human wrist is one of the most complex body structures, consisting of a collection of ligaments, tendons, joints and bones. Unfortunately, its intricacy makes the wrist very prone to injuries, and it doesn’t require performing extreme sports to be at risk of a break. Even something as minor as a tiny wet spot on the floor, when unnoticed, may cause a slip and fall, breaking one of the wrist bones.

While there are many injuries that can occur with the wrist, certain wrist fractures are more common than others. The following are a few of those that are experienced most frequently:

1. Colles’ Fracture

Colles’ fracture is also known as a distal radius fracture. It occurs when the radius, which is the longer forearm bone on the thumb side, breaks at the end toward the wrist. The radius is one of the most common broken bones in the United States. The fracture commonly occurs due to falling on an outstretched hand or a direct trauma to the wrist, but there are several other causes of this fracture, including: age, osteoporosis, lack of calcium or vitamin D.

2. Smith’s Fracture

Smith’s fracture is sometimes termed a reversed Colles’ fracture. It also involves the distal radius, but there are some crucial differences between these two. The Colles’ fracture results from falling onto an extended hand, causing the broken bone fragment to be displaced dorsally, or toward the back. The Smith’s fracture, however, involves falling onto a flexed hand, contributing to displacing the broken fragment of the bone ventrally, or toward the front.

3. Barton’s Fracture

Barton’s fracture also involves the radius. We distinguish two types of it: dorsal and volar. It occurs when the base of the thumb breaks and either the dorsal or volar fragment of the carpal gets dislocated. This condition is often called a fracture-dislocation of the radiocarpal joint.

4. Scaphoid Fracture

Apart from radius and ulna, the shorter bone of the forearm, there are also eight carpal bones that form the wrist, arranged in two rows. One of them is the scaphoid bone which sits at the base of the thumb right above the radius. This small, bean-shaped bone is prone to fractures, yet it’s often hard to detect them; they are sometimes mistaken with wrist sprains. Untreated scaphoid fracture may lead to non-unions, avascular necrosis, and early arthritis.

Throughout our lives, slipping, tripping, and falling at some point are inevitable. All of them may result in a couple of bruises, but some may require immediate medical attention to ensure proper treatment and healing. To make an appointment or learn more about wrist fractures, contact us.