The vast majority of youth sports injuries aren’t life-threatening or permanently disabling. It is important, however, to be prepared for some type of injury if your child plays sports. About 1.35 million kids and teens experience youth sports injuries each year. With early intervention, sprains, fractures or overuse damage doesn’t have to become a long-term problem. Physical therapy for youth sports injuries addresses a broad range of athlete-related problems.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON INJURIES?
Sports injuries in young people fall into three major categories.
PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR OVERUSE INJURIES
A physical therapist can show you how to best use the RICE techniques of rest, icing, compression, and elevation. As simple as RICE techniques are in theory, it can take some practice to get those compression bandages or ice pack timing just right.
The next phase involves a carefully-designed series of stretches and range-of-motion exercises. These help the young athlete ease up injured joints and body tissue.
In addition, physical therapy for overuse injuries includes resistance exercises to help build up muscle strength in the areas surrounding the area. Working on core strengthening is often part of physical therapy for overuse injuries. Even if the problem is in a shoulder or ankle, a strong core helps prevent re-injury anywhere in the musculoskeletal system.
PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR STRAINS AND SPRAINS
Physical therapy for youth sports injuries involving sprains and strains has some overlap with fracture or overuse injury therapy. For example, RICE techniques, stretching and resistance training can help.
In addition, sprains and strains often heal more quickly with hands-on manual therapy. This type of targeted massage is known as soft tissue mobilization. It’s designed to break up scar tissue and prevent other fibrous tissue from building up along the injury site.
PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR GROWTH PLATE FRACTURESThe growth plates in young people are the areas at the ends of long bones. These smaller areas haven’t yet become hardened bones. Casting and even surgery are often required.
After a fracture or while resting from injury the growth plate is immobilized. This often leads to the surrounding muscles to weaken. Physical therapy helps strengthen those weakened muscles. Range-of-motion exercises keep attached joints from becoming permanently stiffened.
If a child or teen is involved in team or individual athletics, youth sports injuries are hard to avoid. More than a million injuries happen to kids and teens each year. The majority are strains, sprains, and fractures. Some of these problems might go away on their own. But physical therapy can often help ease short-term pain and prevent long-term problems. Contact our team at Zenergy to schedule your appointment today!