Common Sports Injuries for Teen Athletes

Common Sports Injuries for Teen Athletes

High school sports have become a popular extracurricular for many teens. They are a great way to stay in shape and help teach teamwork, leadership, and even time management when balanced with other responsibilities. Unfortunately, for many young athletes, injuries are common, ranging from acute to catastrophic. Each type of injury requires specific treatment that may cause them to miss a game, or even the entire season, but healing time is essential for a proper return to the field or court.

If you watch professional sports, you have undoubtedly witnessed any number of injuries throughout the season. Teens are injured at about the same rate as professionals, but the injuries can be much worse if not treated correctly as these young athletes are still growing. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, “Growth is generally uneven: Bones grow first, which pulls at tight muscles and tendons.” This tension is a major contributing factor of injuries to muscles, tendons and growth plates that are common among young athletes.

There are a few different levels of injury that can occur in athletes. Understanding each can help the healing process and provide a realistic expectation for healing.

  • Acute Injuries: These are classified as bruises, sprains, strains and fractures. Typically, they are caused by a sudden trauma, such as a collision between players or with an obstacle. Another common acute injury is a twisted ankle, resulting in fracture or sprain.
  • Overuse Injuries: As the skill level of a sport increases, so do the practices, training and games. This can result in gradual damage over time as there is not enough recovery time in between to heal. Common overuse injuries have been seen in elbows of baseball pitchers, shoulders of swimmers, and wrist and elbow injuries in cheerleaders and gymnasts. Stress fractures also become very common, as old bone breaks down quickly with overuse and new bone does not have enough time to grow in, causing weakness.
  • Catastrophic Injuries: These types of injuries are more common with contact sports, such as hockey and football, but have been reported in many others. Catastrophic injuries include damage to the brain, spinal cord, or growth plates. Concussions, or mild traumatic brain injuries, have become a hot topic of conversation with their rise in professional football. If a concussion is suspected, the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Neurology recommend the athlete be evaluated and cleared by a doctor before they can return to normal play to avoid any permanent damage. Growth plate injuries occur to the developing cartilage at the end of long bones. These are the final portion of the bone to harden, which is why they are more susceptible to fracture. An injury to the growth plate can cause the bone growth to stop or cause a deformity of the bone.

Any injury that occurs due to sports, particularly if any symptoms or discomfort persist, should be seen by a doctor. Athletes who are pushed to work through pain, or are downplaying the severity in order to continue competing may be causing further damage that could become permanent or even result in a disability. This is where the importance of observation by both coaches and parents comes into play as pain or discomfort can be seen if their technique seems off or they have a decreased interest in practice.

Treatment will all depend on the type of injury and its severity. It could range from simple rest to therapy and even surgery. The injury should be healed completely before the athlete can return to physical activities. While it may not be easy to have to take the time off to heal, it will result in a much better outcome than what could happen if left untreated. Athletes can work to prevent these types of injuries by making sure they are properly conditioned, trained, and using proper equipment. Limiting the number of teams the athlete participates on during a given season can help prevent overuse injuries, and making sure to take breaks between seasons, as well as playing other sports throughout the year, can not only help to prevent injury, but help develop an array of athletic skills.

If you have a teen athlete who has a sports-related injury, contact us today. We will help them with the necessary treatment plan to recover and safely get back on the field.

Most Common Youth Sport Injuries

Youth injuries are frightening to everyone for a variety of reasons. From a parent’s perspective, knowing that your child hurt is reason enough to pull them out of any sport for the rest of their lives. Your kids – and possibly their coach – worry that they may never be able to play again.

Thankfully, our body has strong muscles and bones that make us able to re-cooperate with a little rest; or with more extreme cases, some physical therapy. While allowing your child to play a sport has its potential risks, here are some very common injuries that can arise from intramural and team sports.

CommonYouthInjuries

Sprains & Strains

Many people can get the two of these injuries confused, but they are actually quite different. Sprains are ligament injuries that prevent excessive movement of the joints. Ankle sprains are quite common in sports like soccer, while wrist sprains can occur in football, basketball, and tennis

Strains can injure muscles or tendons. Due to the fact that we are dealing with bundles of cells that produce movement – muscles – and tissue that cushions the bones – tendons – most parts of the body are susceptible to injury.

Growth Plate Injury

The growth plate is an area in children and adolescents that holds developing tissue. When growth is complete, the tissue replaces solid bone. Long bones can include the hands and fingers, the forearms the legs, and the feet. These bone injuries are serious and should be consulted with an orthopedic surgeon.

Repetitive Motion Injuries

Hairline fractures and tendinitis are painful injuries related to stress. It’s important to know that these injuries may not always show up on hospital scans while they are still discomforting. Thankfully, a pack of ice and compression will relieve this pain quicker. In the most extreme cases, athletes need crutches, immobilization, and physical therapy.

Keeping kids active is extremely important to us. One thing to remember is that injuries should be reported as soon as they happen. Let us help you get back on the field as soon as possible. Contact us for more information on sports injuries and treatments today.

Youth Injuries & Sport Care: When It’s All In Your Head

Missouri Orthopedics, Advanced Sports & Medicine, Stl doctor, concussion

Youth head injuries are frightening and frustrating, especially when you’re a driven and determined athlete used to pushing through other injuries. Even a mild concussion can cause significant injury to your brain, and this makes it even more important to understand what to expect during the process of recovery.

When your injury is “all in your head”, sometimes it is difficult to take ongoing symptoms seriously. Since giving your brain a chance to heal is so important to your future performance, here are a few important things to keep in mind.

1. Be honest. Let your coach, parents, and doctor know if you’re experiencing symptoms of concussion. While you may be tempted to gloss over lingering headaches or trouble concentrating after an injury, ignoring symptoms may mean you re-injure your brain and have an even longer recovery.

2. Expect recovery to take time. According to a study published February 2016 in The Journal of Pediatrics, recovery from a concussion takes more time for younger players and those who have yet to go through puberty, with the average recovery time between about 33 and 54 days.

3. Expect frustration. You may have trouble with things like balance, sleeping, and concentration. You may have less of an appetite, experience headaches, and have a hard time predicting your emotional response to stress. While your brain heals, its normal to feel frustrated with symptoms.

4. If symptoms come back after you’ve been cleared to return to active sports, speak up! Recovery from concussion is a complex process and some symptoms can linger. Your doctor is the best one to determine a safe level of activity depending on what you’re experiencing.

While youth injuries are frightening and frustrating, the good news about having an injury that’s “all in your head” is that most young people with a concussion do experience complete recovery. Understanding what to expect during the process will help reduce your stress as you work to regain complete health.

Providing treatment for youth injuries and sport care is a big part of what we do. We’re committed to working with you to help manage your symptoms and get you back to active sports as soon as its safe for you to do so. Please contact us and we’ll work with you every step of the way.

Tips to keep your feet safe this Halloween!

Top Toe Shape!

With all of the frights, and terrors let’s leave our feet out of the scary mess. Sprained ankles, added weight to your feet from a cosutme or high heels; whatever it may be: below we have listed tips & advice on how to take it easy on your feet this Halloween season.

MO Sports Med, Foot Safety

1. Layers, layers, layers! An overlooked healthy tip in keeping your feet not only warm, but safe from additional harm is to layer your socks especially when it’s frigid outside which often happens around Halloween. Try to stay away from cotton socks as they absorb the moisture.

2. Keep an eye out on the tempature. If you are planning on being out & about on Halloween night, make sure that tempatures are safe for all night activities such as trick or treating. Consider the wind chill when hitting the spooky streets, as wet & cold feet are painful & to help prevent frostbite.

3. Insulation, please. Keep your shoes insulated for added layers of protection. Especially if your customer calls for a thin layer of outer protection.

4. Step out of your costume. Like the above tip, sometimes our costumes call for a very thing shoe & some costumes recommend no shoes. While shoes may not be in style for your costume, we recommend wearing them for support.

5. High heeled beauty. We’re sure you’ve experienced blisters, nerve pain on the balls of your feet, and plantar fasciitis from the heel pain your shoes carry; none of which are a spirited way to end a fun night! Keep in mind that the pain from high heels are not always worth the sex-kitten look your costume may bring.

6. Reflect yourself. Did you know that each Halloween, at least five kids are hit by cars? It is a good idea to put bright, reflective tape on your child’s shoes so they can be seen in the dark.

7. Safety first. There will be several tripping hazard from decorative items on Halloween such as pumpkins, ghouls and other scary decorations on peoples porches, steps and yards. Be sure to talk with your kids & remind them to always be on the look out and to carry a flash light so they can see where they are walking. If sidewalks are available, always use those.

Take Concussions Seriously

Signs of concussion

Before hitting the football, baseball and soccer fields for practice in your upcoming fall season, make sure you are informed & educated on concussions.

What is a concussion? Long term damage to the brain due to an injury.

Concussions can happen to anyone who plays any sport, including sports such as basketball, wrestling, tennis & gymnastics. If you suspect someone has a concussion, the most important thing you can do is to remove them from the field of play and have them seek medical help. Hopefully your coach went though a training course on how to recognize when one of their player may be experiencing symptoms of a concussion.  Some concussion signs to look for include:

  • Confusion
  • Appearing dazed
  • Acting clumsy or moving rather slow
  • Memory loss. For example: the score of the game, or where they are
  • Unconsciousness

If you are a parent reading this article, we caution you against debating the authority the coach may make to remove your child from the game upon suspecting they are experiencing a concussion.  It is better to be safe, than sorry. And, returning to a game while experiencing a concussion can really cause some further brain trauma.

Just remember, that after seeking medical help for a concussion, it is important to continue to build your way back to recover and take things slow. And, that includes the doctors specific orders they may give about returning to the sport & playing field.

Upon receiving approval from a doctor to regain their physical activity, and they have been cleared to begin working out again, we suggest taking exercise slow. Concussions are a serious issue and it is important athletes take the time they need to recover from any head injury before returning to play.

For any questions regarding concussion or the safety of your health while playing on the field, give Dr. Irvine a call today.