Spring Sports Injury Awareness
Spring is approaching and children are preparing for spring sports mania! From running, baseball, golf, softball and more, there are plenty of spring activities for your child to enjoy. Whether recreationally or competitively, this is a great time for kids to get back in shape and so is taking the necessary steps to prevent injuries.
Spring is also the time of year when we see more injuries. Common spring injuries include ankle sprains, groin pulls, hamstring strains, shin splints, knee injuries, and Little League elbow or tennis elbow. Injuries usually occur due to lack of conditioning the muscles and joints, and many of these injuries are preventable. Boys Town Orthopaedics, along with the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, share steps to prevent injuries this spring season.
How to Prevent Sports Injuries
Warm up consistently. Always have your child take time to warm up and stretch properly before any physical activities. Have them stretch muscles and allow at least 30 seconds in each stretching position. Once the muscles are properly stretched, have them warm up with jumping jacks, walking or running in place for about three to five minutes. They should try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. This could include walking, cycling, swimming, weight lifting, yoga or martial arts.
Proper equipment. Selecting the proper equipment such as shoes, clothing, a helmet for your child's specific sport and using the equipment properly for each activity is important. Each sport has unique clothing and sports equipment that can help your child reach his/her highest potential during physical activity and help prevent injuries. Always remember to replace worn or old equipment, especially as your child grows.
Train and condition. If your child has not been consistently active this winter, condition the body and start training the muscle groups used in his/her sport in the weeks before playing. For example baseball and tennis players can work on shoulder strengthening and flexibility exercises and golfers can work on lower back flexibility and stretching.
Body awareness. Have your child learn to recognize when his/her body is fatigued. Muscles that are fatigued lack the protective mechanisms in the body and increases risk for injuries. Rest and take a break. He/she can use this time to get some much needed hydration.
Make sure to remind your child to always cool down and stretch all the muscles used. Stretching at the end of physical exercise is just as important stretching before. If your child is experiencing an injury or if you have any questions, consult an
Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine specialist.