October 15, 2017 | Staff
While concussions have garnered much of the attention when it comes to health concerns among young athletes, doctors are reporting a significant rise in what they call "overuse injuries". Kids are simply doing too much, too fast and too often. When kids are involved in sports under the age of 14, they are much more vulnerable to injuries due to overuse and the lack of rest since they are skeletally immature and not done growing.
According to the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), surgeons are seeing the number of youth injuries increasing. They are also treating injuries in young athletes that have traditionally been seen among older athletes in professional sports. Stress fractures, tendonitis, tennis elbow, jumper's knee and shin splints are a few of the common overuse injuries that are on the rise among young athletes.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, of the approximately 30 million kids and teens who participate in sports, children aged 5-14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospitals. While participation in any type of sport increases the potential for injury, surgeons attribute much of the instances of youth sports injuries to an increase in overuse and trauma injuries as well as a lack of attention paid to proper injury prevention early on.
In recent years, coaches, athletic trainers and medical care providers have become more aware of the issue of over-training and are on the lookout for athletes who are approaching the over-training stage. Signs can include prolonged muscle soreness, greater fatigue and decreases in velocity or accuracy when throwing. When an overuse or over-training injury presents itself, the affected area typically responds to rest, ice, elevation and compression. Rest is an important part of the recovery process. Our bodies need time to recover and make those strength gains.
The risk of both overuse and over-training injuries increases as these young athletes begin specializing in a single sport. When young athletes play several sports, the exercise different muscle groups in different ways and keep the muscle balance throughout the entire body. Contrarily, when specializing in a single sport, young athletes do the same thing repetitively, causing the body system to potentially get out of balance, causing injuries such as stress fractures, tendonitis and rotator cuff impingement.
If your child is recovering from any injury, it is crucial that you don't take injuries too lightly. Follow the advice of doctors, physical therapists and trainers. If you catch an overuse injury early enough and take the proper steps toward recovery, it can be temporary. However, if the injury remains untreated, it can cause permanent damage.
Many sports injuries can be prevented by focusing on general health and fitness, using the right equipment and allowing the body to rest properly. In addition to proper nutrition and good hydration, young athletes need to get enough sleep. The body does most of its healing while you sleep and poor sleep increases the risk of injury.
The experienced and dedicated sports medicine doctors and surgeons at Ventura Orthopedics are here for you. If you are concerned about sports related injuries affecting your child, talk to the experts at Ventura Orthopedics today.
Call us at 800-698-1280 to schedule an appointment.