Don't Be Sidelined With Overuse Injuries
By Donna Stark
Nobody wants to sit on the sidelines simply because they hurt themselves doing what they love most, but unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening to many of our young athletes. Overuse injuries, also known as repetitive stress injuries, are one of the most common reasons why our children are being pulled away from the game. In fact, these injuries have become a significant concern for doctors, coaches, trainers, and parents alike, especially with the continued growth of year-round play in one dedicated sport. It's important to be mindful of the risks associated with one-sport commitments and to take the necessary steps to avoid injuries like these. Here are some suggestions.
A physical exam is one of the most important things to consider before the official season begins. Your doctor will check for potential risk factors, such as medical history, injury history, flexibility, joint stability, and misalignments. Most sports require an exam before your child is even allowed to play, so you may as well get one scheduled as soon as you can!
Maintaining energy, gaining strength, performing at an optimal level, and successfully recovering at the end of the day ... a healthy diet packed with nutrient-dense foods is essential for all of those to happen in your young athlete, so make sure one is provided to your child. Fill your meals with deeply-hued fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and heart-healthy fats to maintain optimal function.
Stretching Before and After
Stretching before and after practices and games is critical in reducing the risk of overuse injuries, so make sure your child understands the importance of it before they start to play. It's also a good idea to look for teams that have coaches and trainers who properly educate their players on how to stretch correctly.
Everyone needs to be aware of the potential signs of an overuse injury and to take immediate action if one is suspected because these types of injuries will only get worse if ignored. Here are some of the signs to look for.
- Pain and soreness
- Swelling or redness
- Decrease in mobility
- Unexplained changes in technique
- Decreased interest in the sport
Keeping Your Child Safe
It's important to remember that your child is still growing and that overuse injuries can lead to serious issues down the road if they aren't taken care of appropriately, so address any concerns immediately. But until then, keep your child healthy, happy, and fully engaged with the sport that they love by following the above suggestions. In addition, you may want to consider encouraging your child to take breaks and become involved with other sports as well. Doing so can be a huge help when it comes to developing new skills and reducing the risk of injury!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Knightdale, N.C.