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.

 

Sprains: A Common Injury in Young Athletes

Sprains: A Common Injury in Young Athletes

Out of all youth injuries that are related to playing sports, sprains and strains are by far the most common. The two injuries are similar in type – they are both either warped stretches or tears. The difference between them is that a strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon, while a sprain is the damage of a ligament.

Sprains are most often caused by trauma, such as an acute overstretch from a sudden twist or turn. These injuries are commonly seen in ankles, but any ligament can be affected. There is no way to prevent sprains with 100 percent certainty, however there are steps that can be taken to reduce the odds of one occurring.

Get into the habit of stretching properly after each workout session. Do not do so beforehand as the stretching of cold muscles can do more harm than good and can inhibit strength gains. Stretching not only improves the flexibility of the muscles, it also improves the flexibility of the connective tissue, including ligaments. You should also incorporate exercises into your routine that improve balance. Since impact or stretch trauma are the two primary causes of sprains, improving your balance will reduce your risk of falling or having to overcompensate in order to avoid doing so.

If a sprain is not treated correctly, or is left untreated, it can potentially lead to lasting problems. For example, an untreated wrist sprain can be a cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, which may require surgery to correct to prevent the condition from resulting in significant, lasting nerve damage. If your child has been affected by a sprain, it is imperative that you seek proper treatment. Determining the severity of the sprain is vital, as this will affect the treatment regimen.

Should you have any further questions on sprains, or if you suspect your child has a sprain, please give us a call.

Spring Training is Injury Prevention Time for Young Pitchers

Spring Training is Injury Prevention Time for Young Pitchers

With the Cardinals back at spring training in Florida, youth baseball players in the St. Louis area are also returning to the cages to begin their preseason training regimens. For many young pitchers, that means restarting a throwing program after at least a few months off. Having grown and developed in the off season, they’re finding their balance and release points again, and maybe trying out a new pitch or two.

Though it’s fun to focus on those mechanics, players and parents should also remember that preseason is an exceptionally important time to do the work necessary to keep young arms healthy through the long season to come. Arm care isn’t just about counting pitches. The strength and flexibility training young pitchers do in the preseason can mean the difference between ending the season as an all-star and having season-ending surgery.

Benefits of a Preseason Throwing Injury Prevention Program

In 2016, research presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (“AOSSM”) Specialty Day reported that a preseason injury prevention program was shown to significantly diminish the risk of a throwing injury in youth pitchers. In the study, young pitchers participated in a program consisting of resistance training with dumbbells and elastic bands, focusing on flexibility exercises four times per week for at least fifteen minutes per session. The results found that they were four times less likely to suffer a throwing injury than a comparable group of pitchers who only followed a normal preseason throwing regimen. Quoted in the AOSSM press release reporting the findings, one of the study’s corresponding authors emphasized that encouraging “parents, coaches, and youth baseball organizations across the country to adopt similar programs [may give] athletes… a better chance for reducing time off the field because of injury.”

Resources for Developing Your Preseason Throwing Injury Prevention Program

You can find guidance from the National Strength and Conditioning Association on preseason training for youth baseball players here.

Parents, players, and coaches with questions about developing a preseason throwing injury prevention program should consult a certified athletic trainer, or contact our team at Missouri Orthopedics and Advanced Sports Medicine today.