ADOLESCENT SPORT INJURIES
Team sports are beneficial for a variety of reasons. They promote teamwork and develop a great habit of exercising regularly. However, there is a chance that your teen can get hurt, so it's important to understand how to prevent sports injuries.
Proper conditioning is crucial. For teens that are new to sports, they should start by getting in good overall shape—including working on aerobic fitness, strength, and flexibility. Technique is also important. When done correctly, both strength training and working on the core muscles of the back and abdomen may prevent injury and boost performance.
Lastly, warming up before and cooling down after playing a sport can prevent some of the most common sport injuries.
Many adolescent sports injuries occur as a result of overuse or overtraining. We all know a kid who plays year-round soccer but then also participates in basketball in the winter, baseball in the spring and is on travel teams for all 3 sports during the summer! Different sports have instituted rules to prevent these kinds of injuries, such as limiting the numbers of innings and pitches thrown in little league pitchers. Many coaches now encourage cross-training and participating in different sports during the year rather than concentrating on one sport year-round from an early age.
BEGINNING AN EXERCISE PROGRAM
It is recommended that you talk to your doctor first before starting an exercise program, so you can modify the program plan based on known health issues together.
A healthy lifestyle includes regular exercise. Trying to achieve vigorous exercise an hour a day at least 3 days a week, with more moderate workouts the rest of the week is ideal. Make sure you have set realistic goals for yourself. Many of our patients who are starting an exercise program have pre-existing joint conditions that may be exacerbated by high-impact exercises such as running. These and overweight patients may benefit from starting out with lower impact exercises to avoid stressing compromised joints. Swimming, biking and elliptical trainers are all examples of lower-impact exercises which can still help increase cardiovascular fitness and lose weight.
Don't forget to warm up before and cool down after your workouts to prevent injuries.
KNEE INJURY PREVENTION
Regular exercise is important for your overall health; however, a possible injury could be lurking just around the corner. Knee injuries are just one of the common injuries when playing a sport. But there are many ways to prevent this kind of injury.
Maintaining flexibility by keeping your knees and the muscles that support them strong, such as warming up before activities is a great way to prevent injury. It is well-established that female athletes are at increased risk of knee injury when compared to male athletes, specifically in regards to ACL tears. Many factors are to blame. Females have a narrower ACL, the space that houses the ACL (the intercondylar notch) is narrower in females, and hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle affect ligaments making them more lax at times. It has been shown that many women land and jump differently than men and this places more stress on the ACL. Exercise programs that strengthen the muscles of the legs and hips can allow a female athlete to modify these patterns. There is moderate evidence that these exercise programs can lead to a decreased risk of ACL tear in female athletes.
RUNNING INJURY PREVENTION
Running is an excellent cardiovascular exercise, but it can lead to possible injuries when not done correctly. Incorrect footwear, overtraining, and overuse can all contribute to injury. The good news is that many running injuries can be prevented.
Some tips include:
- Start slowly. If you are pretty inactive, you may need to start by walking, adding in some short runs during your walk. As you become more fit you can walk less and run more. Once you are running, you should increase your mileage and intensity gradually
- Proper shoe wear can help. Different people land differently when their foot hits the ground. Some shoes are better for different foot-types and running styles. Shoes should be replaced every 300-500 miles.
- A warm-up is important before your run. Stretching is helpful for maintaining flexibility.