Every year, there are about 2 million high school students who suffer from injuries related to sports. In many cases, these injuries stemmed from overuse. In fact, half of all sporting injuries in teens and children are due to overuse. Overuse injuries occur by participating in repetitive activity that produces soft tissue problems. Everything from bursitis to tendonitis can set in causing your child to experience pain and possibly a relief in any physical activity for a while. Because your child's bones are still growing and less resilient to stress, your child is more prone to suffering from overuse injuries. To ensure your child remains healthy when active, here are some tips for preventing overuse injuries.
Get a Physical Exam
Before signing your child up for a sport, it is important that they get a physical. There are two parts to the physical. You have the family history part and the medical evaluation. During the physical exam, your doctor may be able to identify medical conditions or muscular imbalances that can make your child more prone to overuse injuries. The physical examination should be done about 6 weeks before you start a new activity to ensure there is enough time to follow up on any issues found. You might also want to consider consulting with an orthopedic physician in addition to your child's regular physician.
Ease Into the Sport Slowly
Going all into one activity can increase the chances of your child getting injured. It is important that your child gradually increase their physical activity, especially if they are not used to the activity. Experts suggest that you increase your physical activity about 10% at a time to help ease into the new activity. If your child pushes themselves too hard and too fast, they are likely to suffer from overuse injuries. If you are concerned about your child doing too much, then talk to the coach about your concerns.
Identify the Symptoms
To help prevent your child from getting injured from overuse, it is important that you recognize the symptoms so you can be proactive when you see the signs. Anytime your child starts a new activity, there are going to be some soreness. When the pain starts to affect their performance, it is time to actually make some changes. If your child complains of pain, then have them rest more. If the pain does not go away with rest, then you need to consult a doctor.
Treat Any Soreness
From shoulders to ankles, it is important to take care of any soreness. Applying ice to sore areas can help relieve any swollenness. You also want to apply a compression to the area after icing to put pressure on the sore area. When resting, you want to keep the injured or sore area elevated above the heart. If the area is inflamed, you can take aspirin or ibuprofen to help calm down the inflammation.