Back to School is upon us yet again. The summer sun is still beating down on us, but the gorgeous change of seasons is just around the corner. With back to school, for many families, that also means it is time for Fall Sports to begin. Football, Soccer, Field Hockey, Cross Country, Cheerleading, Volleyball, Tennis, and Golf, to name a few, are all beginning! Any sport(s) your child participates in will require a mixture of training, learning new skills, teamwork, and endurance to get the WIN! Along with that winning touchdown or goal, each sport also carries a risk of injury.
Every year, some 1.35 million children suffer injuries while playing sports (Orthopedic Institute of PA). Out of all of those injuries, the most common are sprains, strains, fractures and shin splints. Below you'll see some of the most likely injuries, along with a few things to keep in mind if you are dealing with any of these injuries.
A sprain is defined as "a tear or stretching of your ligaments, which tether bones together at a joint".
Most sprains happen when you twist a part of your body in an awkward, not natural way. Maybe you land on the side of your ankle, instead of on your foot, after you kicked the ball? There are many possible scenariors that can lead to a sprain. A common and very serious sprain that you may have heard about on TV, watching College Sports or maybe the NFL, is when an athlete tears their ACL. An ACL injury could require surgery and many months of rehabilitation.
However in most cases, a sprain can be treated by the following:
- Ice & Compression
- Use of a Splint
- Taking Anti-Inflammatories
Muscle strains typically come from sudden movements in a way your body isn't used to. Sometimes strains also happen because the body is overyused too. Strains are different from Sprains because a strain is an injury to muscle, where a sprain is an injury to ligaments that connect bone.Strains most commonly occur in the legs and the back, but also occur in the neck, elbows, arms, calf muscle and gluteus.
The best, most recommended treatment for a strain is rest, ice and elevation as well. In severe cases surgery might be necessary, but most will recover within a few days.
A runner's WORST nightmare!
Shin splints often develop from participating in sports that require high intensity running such as soccer, field hockey, and cross country. The repetitive running can damage the tissues holding your muscles to your bones. Shin splints typically develop early in the season when your body is not used to the intensity and/or frequency of activity yet. Running on hard surfaces like concrete can also cause shin splints; along with quickly increasing the distance you run before your body is prepared or conditioned to do so.
In most cases, shin splints will clear up with rest and icing. But in some cases further treatment is needed. It is important to see a doctor if the pain persists and does not improve with a few days rest.
How Can You Prevent These Injuries?
Be proactive! Get a sports physical and talk to your doctor about your ability to participate in physical activity.
- Stretch before participating in practice, a game, or a run
- Don't over-do-it! If you feel pain or abnormal soreness, don't push yourself. Rest!
- Drink plenty of water and keep your body hydrated