According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are more than 3.5 million sports injuries in children each year. All sports carry a risk of injury and while there are steps you can take to prevent sports injuries, these common injuries still may occur.
Often sports injuries in children can be treated with Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE). However, sometimes you should see an orthopedic doctor. If your child experiences one of the following injuries and has symptoms that don’t resolve with home treatment, see a doctor.
1. Ankle Sprains
Some of the most common sports injuries in children are ankle sprains. Ankle sprains occur when the ligaments that support the ankle stretch and tear. This can happen in sports like basketball, tennis, soccer, and football that require cutting or twisting actions. Ankle sprains cause pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising, and instability of the ankle. Most sprains are minor injuries that heal with the RICE protocol, but sometimes they require treatment by an orthopedic specialist.
2. ACL Tears
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the major ligaments that stabilize the knee joint. It connects the femur to the tibia. An ACL tear can occur due to a blow to the outside of the knee or without impact after a jump or twist. ACL tears are most common in kids that play basketball, volleyball, tennis, and soccer. An ACL tear causes pain, swelling, and limited movement in the knee.
Osgood-Schlatter is another type of knee pain that is different than an ACL tear. It is a traction injury (also known as a stretch injury) to a growth plate at the top of the shin bone called an apophysis. The injury is caused by tightness in the muscles coupled with high activity levels. The injury may present with pain and swelling or a bump at the bottom of the knee.
4. Little League Elbow
Little league elbow is caused by repetitive stress to the growth place located on the inside of a child’s elbow, resulting in pain and tenderness. It is common among baseball and softball players in positions such as pitcher, catcher, infielder, and outfielder. It may occur in other sports where repetitive throwing is required.
5. Little League Shoulder
Similar to little league elbow, only it affects the shoulder. Repetitive stress or micro trauma to the shoulder growth plate. This condition most commonly occurs among children between 11 and 14. As the name suggests, it is common in softball and baseball pitchers but it can also occur in swimmers and tennis players.
6. Shin Splints
Shine splints are common sports injuries in children that participate in sports that require repeated running on a hard surface. They can also be caused by overtraining at the beginning of the season without proper conditioning. Shin splints cause pain and discomfort on the front of the lower legs (the shins).
Spondylolysis is a stress fracture to the lumbar spine. A stress fracture occurs when a bone breaks after experiencing repeated stress from tension or compression. This injury usually occurs in the low back. It is most commonly seen in young athletes that participate in sports like gymnastics, tennis, rowing, weightlifter, and track and field.
8. Turf Toe
Turf toe is the hyperextension of the big toe. It occurs when a young athlete pushes off of the ground forcefully with the big toe being forced upward. It gets its name from American football played on artificial turf, but it can occur in any sport where the athlete pushes off forcefully to run or jump. The main symptom of these sports injuries in children is pain, but swelling may also be present.
Unfortunately, concussion is not an uncommon sports injury in children. It can occur in many sports as the result of a direct blow to the head. After such a blow, the child should be monitored for symptoms like headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, or confusion. While the treatment for most concussions is rest, all concussions should still be evaluated by a medical professional so they can recommend treatment
At South Shore Orthopedics, our providers are experts in treating a variety of orthopedic conditions, including sports injuries. To schedule an appointment, call our office at (781) 337-5555 or complete this appointment request form.
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