Sports Injuries In Children
Sports injuries fall into two categories: acute injuries that result from sudden trauma and overuse injuries that result from repetitive motions. Although children seem resilient, it is important to remember that their bones are actually more susceptible to injury than those of an adult, due to the vulnerability of the skeletal growth plates (the soft cartilage deposits from which new bone is formed). South Florida is a four-season sports community. We see football players, baseball players, soccer players, gymnasts, cheerleaders, basketball players, volleyball players, equestrians, dancers, lacrosse players, tennis players, track and field athletes, cyclists, swimmers, motocross participants, bull riders, barrel racers, ice skaters, and athletes who play a variety of other sports.
Many sports injuries of an orthopaedic nature can be treated with RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Over-the-counter pain relievers can also be used. However, when a child has persistent pain, swelling or loss of performance a visit to the emergency room or doctor's office is merited.
How Can a Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon Help?
Often, activity modification, physical therapy or performance enhancement training can relieve symptoms. In the event that a child needs surgery to repair an injured joint or bone, a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon may be called upon to perform an operation. The nature of the operation will depend on the type of injury. Fortunately, for young athletes there has been a growing trend toward minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures to take the place of open surgery.
Most sports injuries can be prevented. To protect children, parents should:
- Encourage the use of safety equipment
- Group children for play according to their age and size
- Find out what training and conditioning programs can help improve performance and minimize the risk of injury
- Select athletic programs that are overseen by coaches knowledgeable in first aid procedures and safety training
- Take their children to a physician for a physical examination prior to their participation in an organized sport
- Report diabetes, asthma or other pre-existing conditions to the child's coach and school nurse
To learn more about pediatric orthopaedic conditions, please refer to the following organizations: