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.

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.

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.