There are steps kids can take to lessen their chances of injury as they return to previous activity levels.
Young athletes coming off a long layoff too quickly can put themselves at risk for injury. There are steps kids can take to lessen their chances of injury as they return to previous activity levels.
Norton Children’s Orthopedics of Louisville
Young athletes have their own unique needs, as do their bones and muscles.
Jennifer M. Brey, M.D., pediatric orthopedist with Norton Children’s Orthopedics of Louisville (COOL), affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, offers these tips to keep your child in the game and out of harm’s way.
- Condition before returning to competition. Going from little to no activity straight into full exertion puts a lot of strain on muscles and joints. Kids should try to stay active before the season starts and ease their way back to previous activity levels. Many injuries seen in the Norton Children’s Orthopedics of Louisville office during the past few months have been from kids who rested completely, then got injured when sports resumed.
- Rest and recover. Young athletes may feel the need to make up for lost time, but allowing the body the proper time to cool down is even more important after a long break from competition. Too much activity for athletes with open growth plates can cause apophysitis, an inflammation or injury to the area around a growth plate, such as Sever’s disease or little league shoulder.
- Don’t push through pain. Occasional aches and pains that resolve with rest are normal, but pain that lingers over multiple days may require a longer period of rest or medical evaluation. Any athlete experiencing acute pain from a twisting injury to the knee or ankle should rest immediately and see a doctor if the pain persists.
Remember the little things. Stretch, stay hydrated and take warmups seriously. Studies show that short periods of low-intensity exertion often are beneficial in preventing injury.