Children gain a wide range of benefits from participating in sports, from learning teamwork and confidence to improved health through physical activity. However, sports are not without their risks, and injuries can occur in any sport that children play. In fact, more than 2.6 million people under the age of 19 go to the emergency room each year due to sports injuries, and young people are particularly prone to certain ailments. Whether your child has already sustained an injury or you want to prevent injury, searching for the best “chiropractor near me,” here are some things to think about.
Why Are Children More Susceptible to Sports Injury?
From childhood through adolescence, children are experiencing rapid increases in their height and weight, known as a growth spurt. As a part of these growth spurts, children can become more vulnerable to a wide range of injuries. Because children mature and grow at different rates, they can experience puberty over a span of 3 to 5 years and at different ages- however, many sports are grouped by age. This means one team can have a child who is smaller and weaker playing against older, stronger children of the same age, leading to injury. A number of other changes can also contribute:
- As children adapt to their new bodies, they may lose coordination and struggle to control motor skills.
- Flexibility is lost as children grow and they may try to perform activities they no longer safely can.
- During adolescence, cartilage is gradually replaced with bone tissue, making them especially fragile during growth spurts.
Sports can be a great way to help teenagers learn to control their changing bodies and form healthy habits, but it is important to do so safely to avoid common injuries.
Types of Common Sports Injuries
There are two primary categories of injuries that can occur in young athletes. An acute injury is something that suddenly occurs, like a broken bone or torn muscle, typically in response to sudden trauma during sports. Some acute injuries are more common than others. The other type of injury is known as an overuse injury and is a result of repetitive motion over extended periods of time.
Some of the most common acute injuries include:
- Fractures, especially of the shoulder and the kneecap. Because children are vulnerable to fractures in the growth-plate areas, these are the most likely areas to fracture, including the thighbone, lower bones in the leg, forearm, wrist, ankle, foot, or hip. Boys are more likely to experience growth plate fractures than girls.
- Knee and shoulder dislocations, which occur when there is a loss of contact between bones that typically connect. Shoulder dislocations often occur in contact sports and overhead sports, while kneecap dislocations can also be caused by over twisting or overextending the leg.
- ACL Ligament Injuries are the most common injury to the knees annually and have become more common in children as sports involvement increases. When the ACL is torn, the knee struggles to become stabilized and will often require surgery.
Some common overuse injuries include the following:
- Jumper’s Knee, in which the knee joint is pulled, causing inflammation and pain.
- Little League Elbow/Shoulder, caused by repetitive overhead throwing.
- Sever’s Disease, where the Achilles tendon pulls on the heel bone as a result of running or jumping.
- Shin Splints, caused by excessive running, especially on hard surfaces.
- Spondylolysis, commonly seen in football linemen and gymnasts, occurs when the lower back is overextended and a vertebra suffers from a fracture.
Preventing Injuries in Young Athletes
Of course, it is always better to prevent an injury than to treat one after the fact. Prevention is another reason you may find yourself searching for chiropractic treatment for sports injury as adjustments and preventative care can help an athlete’s worn body become re-aligned before anything occurs.
Other tips for preventing injuries are:
- Instead of playing only one sport year-round, be involved in multiple sports that require different physical activities.
- Make sure to rest and recover, especially if you begin to notice aches and pains.
- Take breaks from playing a sport between seasons instead of always being involved in a league.
- During breaks, keep up physical activity with low-impact options like yoga or swimming.
- Any area where a child is practicing, training, or competing should have a medic on-site.
If you or your child is involved in athletics, now is the time to search for a “chiropractor near me” to begin preventative care. AICA College Park offers expert chiropractic care and personalized treatment plans based on your child’s needs. Contact AICA College Park today to begin a safety plan!