With school starting, many young athletes are looking forward to playing fall sports. Unfortunately, fall sports can cause injuries. Make sure you know what to do if your child gets hurt this season.
Common Fall Sports Injuries
Even though some sports are more dangerous than others, all sports have a potential for both minor and major injury. The following are common sports-related injuries that could affect your child:
- After a child experiences a fall, twist or blow to the body, they might find themselves with a sprain. A sprain is an injury to a ligament which can cause pain, swelling, bruising and inflammation. Ankle sprains are the most common athletic injury.
- A strain is an injury to a muscle or a tendon, most often occurring in the back and hamstring muscles. A child with a strain might complain of muscle spasms, muscle weakness, swelling, inflammation and cramping.
- Shin Splint. The pain or tenderness in a child’s lower leg could be a shin splint. Shin splints often occur after repetitive activity, resulting in inflammation of the muscles, tendons and the thin layer of tissue that covers the bone of the tibia.
- Growth Plate Injuries. Younger children who have not finished growing are at risk for growth plate injuries, which occur in the developing tissue of long bones. Growth plate injuries can be caused by a fall, a blow to a limb or overuse. If left untreated, growth plate injuries can cause permanent damage and interfere with proper growth.
- Repetitive Motion Injuries. Injuries such as stress fractures and tendonitis can result from the overuse of muscles and tendons, causing a child pain and discomfort.
- If a child suffers a blow or jolt to the head, they could have a concussion. Concussions are serious injuries that can affect functionality of the brain.
If your child has a minor sprain, strain or shin splint, start the healing process with RICE:
- Take a break from the activity that caused the injury or any movements that cause pain.
- A simple ice pack can relieve pain, numb the injured area and reduce swelling.
- Apply compression to the injured area by wrapping it with an elastic bandage. The pressure helps prevent fluid from accumulating.
- Raise the injured area above the level of the heart.
When to Go to the Doctor
Severe injuries require professional treatment. If a child has an obvious fracture or dislocation of a joint, prolonged or severe pain, severe swelling or loses consciousness, seek medical attention.
The fear of injury shouldn’t keep your athlete from playing sports. However, when injuries do occur, we can help. Stop by our Sports Medicine Clinic at OrthoArkansas any Saturday morning from September to November, or find a physician.