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4 Tips to Prevent Sports Injuries in Kids

By Kate Gardner 

We can all agree that it is important for kids to get exercise. Organized sports can be a great way for kids to be active and have fun, but there is growing concern that the pressure placed on young athletes has the potential to do them physical harm. Each year, 3.5 million children age 14 or younger are seen for sports-related injuries, according to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Tennessee. The majority of these injuries are repetitive stress injuries. 

Repetitive Stress Injuries

We often think of injuries as resulting from an accident, but repetitive stress injuries work differently. Also known as overuse injuries, they are caused by a person performing the same motion over and over. This repetitive motion causes small amounts of damage that build up over time. Repetitive stress injuries may not be recognized early on as the pain may be mild or brief.

Causes

Repetitive stress injuries are commonly seen in children who play sports. A number of factors can come together to make these injuries more likely. 

  • Overspecialization - Kids who play the same sport all year long are more likely to suffer repetitive stress injuries. 

  • Poor form or technique - Using an incorrect form or technique places extra stress on joints, ligaments, tendons, and bones. 

  • Too much, too soon - Many kids jump straight into their season without properly building up strength and endurance first. The dramatic jump in exercise intensity can cause injuries. 

Prevention 

Prevention is key when addressing repetitive stress injuries. UT Southwestern Medical Center recommends a number of ways to cut down on these injuries. 

  • Kids shouldn't play a sport more than five days per week, allowing for breaks. 

  • Kids shouldn't play a sport more hours each week than their age. For example, a 10-year-old shouldn't play 11 hours per week.

  • Kids should cross-train, playing different sports and engaging in different exercises throughout the year.

  • Kids should not be pushed to play the same sport all year. Research suggests that this specialization does not create better athletes.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care can be beneficial in treating repetitive stress injuries by adjusting the affected joints. These adjustments help correct joint restrictions and may improve joint motion, relieve joint discomfort, improve flexibility, or decrease inflammation.  Chiropractic care has the added benefits of being non-invasive and non-addictive, important features when treating children. If a child in your life seems to be suffering from a repetitive stress injury, visit The Joint Chiropractic for an evaluation and assessment.  

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Mt. Juliet, Tenn. 

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