The Most Common Kids’ Sports Injuries
Every year, more than 2 million children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for sports-related injuries. Awareness is the first step in prevention, so we review the most common childhood sports injuries.
Whether your child is the high school quarterback, a member of the track team, or the first member of the family to grab a helmet when it’s time for a weekend biking excursion, encouraging pleasure in sports at a young age builds valuable healthy habits. The benefits of an active life far outweigh the obesity and diabetes risks of a sedentary lifestyle spent in front of a television or computer.
However, as parents ourselves, we know that an active lifestyle also has a downside. The CDC reports that more than 2.6 million children up to 19 years of age are treated in hospital emergency rooms for sports and recreation-related injuries. Sports injuries in children run the gamut from minor scrapes and bruises to serious brain and spinal cord injuries.
Taking steps to prevent sports injuries begins with awareness. The following list reviews the most common sports-related injuries treated in children:
- Sprains and strains. Ankle sprains are the most common athletic injury. Sprains occur when a ligament connecting two or more bones in a joint becomes damaged. Strains are also common, and involve damage to a muscle or tendon.
- Growth plate injuries. Growth plates are areas of developing tissues at the end of the long bones in growing children and adolescents. As the tissue growth becomes complete, growth plates are replaced by solid bone. These injuries require medical treatment from an orthopedic doctor who specializes in bone injuries. Your child’s growth plates are located at the ends of these bones:
- The long metatarsal bones and phalanges in the hand and fingers
- The radius and ulna bones in the forearm
- The femur in the upper leg
- The tibia and fibula in the lower leg
- The metatarsals and phalanges in the foot
- Repetitive motion injuries. When bones, muscles, and tendons are subjected to repeated stress from overuse, children are at risk for stress fractures, tendonitis, and inflammation.
- Heat-related illnesses. Heat illness is always dangerous. Children are particularly at risk because they perspire less than adults, and their core body temperature will be higher before sweating is triggered. Heat illnesses include dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
Although injuries can happen to anyone—from a child to a seasoned athlete—there are preventative measures that parents can take to minimize injury risks. Understanding the risks is the first step in supporting a safe environment for your children’s sports activities. We want your family to enjoy the health and social benefits of sports now, and establish a foundation for healthy activity over a lifetime.
Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive sports medicine expertise
From Olympians to pro athletes to kids in youth sports and those that just want to be more active—Summit Orthopedics delivers expert care by fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians. If you are recently injured or concerned about ongoing pain, Summit Orthopedics sports medicine specialists have the expertise to evaluate your discomfort and develop a plan to quickly and safely help you get back to being active.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, Plymouth, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as several additional community clinics.
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