How to Avoid Common Sports Injuries in Kids – By Chrissie Klinger


As a mother of two athletic kids, a volunteer coach, and a runner myself, I have seen my fair share of sports injuries. Although some sports are more dangerous than others, there are some injuries that are common across many sports. Ankle, shoulder, and knee strains and sprains are the most common injuries I have seen in children between the ages of 5 and 16 years old. However, many of these common sports injuries can be prevented by following a few simple tips.

Stretch, Stretch, and Stretch Again: Stretching for at least five to ten minutes before physical activity is very important. If your youth sport program is not building stretching into practice time, be sure to have your child arrive early and stretch on their own. Child athletes should also stretch after physical activity as well. Many strains, sprains, and pulls are due to children not stretching properly. The best way to stretch all of the muscles in your body is to do a light jog for five minutes to get your muscles warmed up; then work from your shoulders down your body to stretch all other parts of your body. Finally, go back and do more intensive stretches in the areas of the body that will be used the most during the sporting activity. For example, a basketball player should stretch their shoulder muscles a little more, but still stretch all other areas of their body as well. See the videos to the right for some warm up and stretching exercise ideas.

Avoid Dental Repair-Get a Mouth Guard: Although mouth guards have become more fashionable over the years, many kids still hate to wear them. The result of not wearing a mouth guard can be a bloody tongue, cut cheeks, or even knocked out teeth. Mouth guards can run from $1 up to $20, and believe me that expense is minimal compared to the cost of extensive dental work or cosmetic surgery. Wearing a mouth guard is not a guarantee that you will avoid all mouth related injuries, but is definitely reduces the risk.

When in Doubt, Wrap it Up: If your child has an ankle or a joint that seems a little sore, it is best to keep it wrapped during physical activity. There are many types of wraps and if you are not sure which type is best for your child, check with your school’s trainer or ask your family doctor for advice.

Wear the Right Shoes Outside of Sports: Although many parents spend a lot of money getting all of the right equipment including cleats for their child to wear during sports activities, many parents don’t realize the importance of good footwear outside of sports. Sometimes children may weaken an area of their body and if they continue to walk around all day in shoes that don’t give them proper leg, ankle and back support, they can cause the injury to get worse without even realizing it. It is also a good idea to only let your child wear flip-flops a few hours a day, since they offer no ankle, arch, or back support, and if they are worn all the time, they can weaken the ankle and foot arch area.

Always Make Sure Your Child Has the Right Size: When you are purchasing protective gear or footwear for a sport, make sure you consult with the coach or a trainer on how the equipment should fit and what size you should be purchasing for your child. Incorrect shin guards, pads, cleats, or other equipment could leave you child more vulnerable to injury.

Avoiding Re-injury

If your child does experience an injury while playing sports you should do the following:

• Get the child to a doctor or emergency room within a few hours of the injury. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

• Follow your doctor’s advice completely and see a physical therapist if necessary.

• If your child does not start improving within a few days after the injury it may be necessary to see an orthopedic doctor or to get a second opinion regarding the injury.

• Your child should avoid physical activity for a few days and try to rest the injured area as much as possible.

• When your child is released to resume sports, PROTECT the injured area.

My daughter hurt her ankle one year in spring soccer, and we did everything the doctor said. It got better as the season went on and by basketball season she wasn’t having any problems at all. The following spring we forgot all about her ankle ever being hurt and during the first game someone kicked the same area and she was in extreme pain again. She could have avoided re- injury by wearing an ankle brace all the time during soccer. We learned the hard way how important it is to prevent re-injury. Many kids wear braces and other support devices while playing sports just to avoid re-injury and believe me, it is worth it.

We also learned the importance of doing conditioning exercises during the off-season to avoid re-injury. By strengthening the injured area your child can reduce the risk of re-injury. Some sports clubs, YMCAs, and schools offer off-season conditioning sessions for specific sports. If there is not something like this available in your area, talk with your doctor or a physical therapist about the best conditioning exercises for the sport your child plays.

More Tips

• Staying well hydrated with WATER before, during and after sports helps your body stay healthy and strong and can lead to fewer injuries.

• A well balanced diet with plenty of lean protein and dairy can help strengthen muscles and bones to make them less susceptible to injury.

• Although sports drinks are good if you are active for several hours, many kids drink too much and consume way more sugar than they should through sports drinks. If water alone does not seem to help your child cool down, drink one sports drink and then go back to water.

BIO

Chrissie Klinger is an educator and freelance writer who blogs at Pupcycled, and writes lifestyle articles for Petcentric, Yahoo Contributor Network, and HubPages. She lives in Bedford, Pennsylvania, with her husband, two kids, two dogs, and three cats. To learn more about Chrissie and her work: http://facebook.com/chrissie.klinger.

A version of this article originally appeared here: http://chrissieklinger.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Avoid-Common-Sports-Injuries-in-Kids

As a mother of two athletic kids, a volunteer coach, and a runner myself, I have seen my fair share of sports injuries. Although some sports are more dangerous than others, there are some injuries that are common across many sports. Ankle, shoulder, and knee strains and sprains are the most common injuries I have seen in children between the ages of 5 and 16 years old. However, many of these common sports injuries can be prevented by following a few simple tips.

 

Stretch, Stretch, and Stretch Again: Stretching for at least five to ten minutes before physical activity is very important. If your youth sport program is not building stretching into practice time, be sure to have your child arrive early and stretch on their own. Child athletes should also stretch after physical activity as well. Many strains, sprains, and pulls are due to children not stretching properly. The best way to stretch all of the muscles in your body is to do a light jog for five minutes to get your muscles warmed up; then work from your shoulders down your body to stretch all other parts of your body. Finally, go back and do more intensive stretches in the areas of the body that will be used the most during the sporting activity. For example, a basketball player should stretch their shoulder muscles a little more, but still stretch all other areas of their body as well. See the videos to the right for some warm up and stretching exercise ideas.

 

Avoid Dental Repair-Get a Mouth Guard: Although mouth guards have become more fashionable over the years, many kids still hate to wear them. The result of not wearing a mouth guard can be a bloody tongue, cut cheeks, or even knocked out teeth. Mouth guards can run from $1 up to $20, and believe me that expense is minimal compared to the cost of extensive dental work or cosmetic surgery. Wearing a mouth guard is not a guarantee that you will avoid all mouth related injuries, but is definitely reduces the risk.

 

When in Doubt, Wrap it Up: If your child has an ankle or a joint that seems a little sore, it is best to keep it wrapped during physical activity. There are many types of wraps and if you are not sure which type is best for your child, check with your school’s trainer or ask your family doctor for advice.

 

Wear the Right Shoes Outside of Sports: Although many parents spend a lot of money getting all of the right equipment including cleats for their child to wear during sports activities, many parents don’t realize the importance of good footwear outside of sports. Sometimes children may weaken an area of their body and if they continue to walk around all day in shoes that don’t give them proper leg, ankle and back support, they can cause the injury to get worse without even realizing it. It is also a good idea to only let your child wear flip-flops a few hours a day, since they offer no ankle, arch, or back support, and if they are worn all the time, they can weaken the ankle and foot arch area.

 

Always Make Sure Your Child Has the Right Size: When you are purchasing protective gear or footwear for a sport, make sure you consult with the coach or a trainer on how the equipment should fit and what size you should be purchasing for your child. Incorrect shin guards, pads, cleats, or other equipment could leave you child more vulnerable to injury.

 

Avoiding Re-injury:

 

If your child does experience an injury while playing sports you should do the following:

 

  • Get the child to a doctor or emergency room within a few hours of the injury. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

 

  • Follow your doctor’s advice completely and see a physical therapist if necessary.

 

  • If your child does not start improving within a few days after the injury it may be necessary to see an orthopedic doctor or to get a second opinion regarding the injury.

 

  • Your child should avoid physical activity for a few days and try to rest the injured area as much as possible.

 

  • When your child is released to resume sports, PROTECT the injured area.

 

My daughter hurt her ankle one year in spring soccer, and we did everything the doctor said. It got better as the season went on and by basketball season she wasn’t having any problems at all. The following spring we forgot all about her ankle ever being hurt and during the first game someone kicked the same area and she was in extreme pain again. She could have avoided re- injury by wearing an ankle brace all the time during soccer. We learned the hard way how important it is to prevent re-injury. Many kids wear braces and other support devices while playing sports just to avoid re-injury and believe me, it is worth it.

 

We also learned the importance of doing conditioning exercises during the off-season to avoid re-injury. By strengthening the injured area your child can reduce the risk of re-injury. Some sports clubs, YMCAs, and schools offer off-season conditioning sessions for specific sports. If there is not something like this available in your area, talk with your doctor or a physical therapist about the best conditioning exercises for the sport your child plays.

 

More Tips:

 

  • Staying well hydrated with WATER before, during and after sports helps your body stay healthy and strong and can lead to fewer injuries.

 

  • A well balanced diet with plenty of lean protein and dairy can help strengthen muscles and bones to make them less susceptible to injury.

 

  • Although sports drinks are good if you are active for several hours, many kids drink too much and consume way more sugar than they should through sports drinks. If water alone does not seem to help your child cool down, drink one sports drink and then go back to water.

 

BIO

Chrissie Klinger is an educator and freelance writer who blogs at Pupcycled, and writes lifestyle articles for Petcentric, Yahoo Contributor Network, and HubPages.

She lives in Bedford, Pennsylvania, with her husband, two kids, two dogs, and three cats.  To learn more about Chrissie and her work: http://facebook.com/chrissie.klinger.

END BIO

 

 

A version of this article originally appeared here: http://chrissieklinger.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Avoid-Common-Sports-Injuries-in-Kids