Children thrive when they are active. Whether they play on an organized soccer team or an avid independent skier, these days kids have the option to participate in sports all year round. However, with more activity comes a higher risk of sports-related injuries in children. While sports injuries can happen to anyone, more and more children and young adults are seeking sports injury treatment from local physiotherapy clinics for a variety of issues. High-risk sports that account for both minor and acute injuries include football, basketball, ice hockey, gymnastics, and more. Here are some frequent sports injuries to watch out for in children and recommended treatments.
Ankle sprains are common injuries among people of all ages, particularly in children who are active in sports. The severity of a sprain can range severely, and if they are left untreated can cause many problems for children down to road including repeated injury of the ankle. It can be difficult to determine the severity of your child’s ankle sprain; some symptoms to look out for are bruising, swelling, and pain. Kids are tough, and although they might feel ready to jump back into sports after a sprain, it’s important to advise a doctor or physiotherapist to better determine which sports injury treatment is needed. If your child is complaining of a potential ankle injury, the first step should be the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). If your child needs further sports injury treatment for his or her sprained ankle, a physiotherapist will be able to work with you and your child to come up with a treatment plan suited to their injury and lifestyle.
Dislocation, most commonly in the shoulders and fingers, is another sports-related injury that children may face. Shoulder dislocation in particular is common in high-impact sports like football, or sports involving a lot of falls. Signs and symptoms of dislocations in children can range, however, if you suspect a child has a dislocated joint- it is best to avoid trying to move the joint and instead seek medical care right away. Children can seek sports injury treatment for dislocations that will focus on the rehabilitation of the joint that has been displaced, including rotations and stretches that children can also practice at home.
A more serious sports-related injury that is seen in children, teens, and young adult athletes is ACL tears. Anterior cruciate ligament injuries have the potential to set back children for months, affecting not only their participation in sports but also their daily routines at home and school. ACL tears are common in soccer and basketball, similar to dislocations, however, these injuries are usually a result of the constant “stopping and starting” aspects of sports. Sports injury treatments for ACL tears vary, and surgery is common for more acute trauma. More mild ACL tears in children can benefit tremendously from regular physiotherapy management and prevent future injuries in their adulthood. Exercises practiced in physiotherapy can also help to prepare children before ACL tear surgery, should they require it.
One sports-related injury that is common among active children is concussions. Unlike injuries to arms, shoulders, legs, and ankles, concussions can be difficult to spot and diagnose in children. Signs include headaches, dizziness, confusion, and other symptoms that can very easily be dismissed as a child acting out or being fatigued. Children and teens may experience more than one concussion in their lifetime, which can affect them negatively long-term. Physiotherapy can play a huge role in concussion therapy for your child, with a specialized focus on balance and coordination.