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Help Prevent Injury to your Young Athlete

Have you rushed to the emergency room after receiving the dreaded phone call that your child has been injured while playing sports?

You’re not alone – out of the estimated 38 million U.S. teens and children who participate in organized sports each year, more than 2.6 million will be treated in hospital ER’s for recreation and sports-related injuries (CDC).

Common Sports-Related Injuries

Sprains and Strains. An ankle sprain where the ligament at the joint is injured is the most common sports-related injury. A strain is an injury to a tendon or a muscle.

Repetitive Motion Injuries. When tendons and muscles are overused, tendonitis or stress fractures can occur. Young athletes also may develop plantar fasciitis or inflammation of the plantar fascia, tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot, especially when running or jumping on hard surfaces.

Growth Plate Injuries. The growth plate is an area of tissues at the end of long bones in youth who are still growing. Common areas for these injuries are the foot bones, hand and fingers, the forearm and the upper and lower leg. These injuries require specialized professional help from a foot doctor or orthopedic surgeon.

Heat-Related Illnesses. Heat injuries are not to be taken lightly and can even be fatal. Problems like dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be particularly dangerous for the young.

Treating Sport-Related Injuries

Treatment for all the various types of injuries will differ based on the type of injury. Most injuries will respond well to R.I.C.E. treatment which stands for Rest, Ice the area, apply Compression and Elevate.

If the injury is severe such as an obvious fracture, prolonged swelling, severe pain or joint dislocation, take your child to a hospital emergency room, urgent care center or doctor’s office right away. Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM treats all types of foot and ankle injuries every day right in our Chicago office.

How To Prevent Injuries To Keep Your Child in the Game

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Here are some common-sense tips to avoid meeting your child in the emergency room one more time:

Be involved as a parent to ensure the children are not being stretched beyond their ability.

  • Make sure the coach is trained in first aid and CPR and has working knowledge of both the sport and all necessary equipment.
  • Have the child start slowly and gradually build up endurance. Make sure there’s time before workouts for warming up and gentle stretching, and after exercising for cool down and another period of stretching.
  • Always make sure children wear the right well-fitting footwear and protective gear for their sport or activity.
  • Encourage your child to stay hydrated before, during and after workouts.
  • Respond quickly to any sign of pain or discomfort. Don’t expect your young athlete to “work it out” as continued stress can aggravate the injury.

Read more in our blog Select the Right Athletic Shoes for Your Child.

We Are Expert in Youth Sports Foot and Ankle Health

Please visit us with your child for a complete foot and ankle health assessment and injury prevention discussion. Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist has extensive experience with injuries for any age group. You can reach us at our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website. Stay in the game by preventing foot and ankle injuries.