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Pediatric Overuse Injuries - Part 2

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Pediatric Overuse Injuries Part 2, Let the Kid be a kid

By: Jacon C. Chun,MPT, SCS, ATC, CSCS
Director of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Sports Clinical Specialist
Elite Sports Physical Therapy


As I mentioned in my previous post, overuse injuries in athletic children are increasing at an alarming rate. Most of this is due to lack of cross-training/multi-sport participation and is the result of sport specialization at a younger age. The consequence of this specialization is undue stress to an immature musculoskeletal system, resulting in overuse injuries.

So, other than having children play 2,3, or 4 different sports, how do we prevent these types of injuries? The first step is recognition. As mentioned in the last post, if your child or a child you coach is having pain in one of the following areas, they may benefit from a visit with an orthopedist: heels, shins, knees, hips, back, elbows, or shoulders. (Feel free to contact us at ESPT if you would like a referral to a local orthopedic physician).

Once you have identified a painful area that is not resolving, you can follow the RICES principle:

Rest- In children, most of their painful areas will resolve with appropriate rest. Since most of the symptoms in children are the result of stress to immature bones (growth planes), appropriate time for these areas to mature will often alleviate the pain. There are also taping techniques and assistive devices that can be used to take stress of these painful sites. A sports physical therapist with experience treating athletes can help you find the right equipment for your child.

Ice- Try icing the painful area for 15 minutes with an ice pack. You can use a ziploc bag with ice and a little water or a commercial gel pack. Be sure to place a wet towel between the ice and skin to prevent any irritation to underlying tissue. This can be repeated several times a day to minimize swelling and symptoms at the painful site.

Compression- As mentioned earlier, compression garments and equipment like braces/straps/tape can be used to help decrease symptoms. Check with you physical therapist or doctor for more details.

Elevation- Try to elevate the painful site above the heart to assist with carrying swelling away from that area.

Stretch- Release tension and muscle imbalances that could be putting stress to the immature bony sites and causing pain. A physical therapist that understands the sport requirements for your young athlete and the biomechanics of the specific recreational activity involved, will be able to design a program tailored to each individual's needs. No one is more qualified to do this than our therapists at ESPT. With experience treating athletes in 34 sports from lacrosse to water polo, synchronized swimming to football, no other clinic in Fremont can provide you a more complete sports and orthopedic evaluation to allow your child to return to the activities they love.

If your child's symptoms are not relieved with the RICES principles, it is highly recommended that you follow-up with your pediatrician or with an orthopedist for further medical evaluation. Early detection can help address issues while they are still manageable and help prevent progression to a condition that would require mandatory rest.

The bottom line is that it's important to keep kids healthy, to allow them to have positive developmental associations and pleasure with sports. This will allow kids to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle. It will allow kids to just be kids. And it may even allow some kids to emerge into the stars of tomorrow.

Article Reprinted from http://espt-ca.blogspot.com/2009_04_01_archive.html with Permission of Elite Sports Physical Therapy

Many thanks to the Author Janson C Chun,MPT, SCS, ATC, CSCS

Jacon C. Chun is the Director of Physical Therapy/CEO of Elite Sports Physical Therapy (ESPT) in Fremont, CA. His vision in opening up ESPT in February 2006, was to provide the same level of care to the general public, that Jacon saw being given to professional and elite athletes at the intercollegiate, professional, and Olympic level. In two years, ESPT has developed into the premier sports and outpatient physical therapy in Fremont. Jacon also has the distinction of being the only Board Certified Sports Clinical Specialist in the area. He is a member of the APTA and serves on the volunteer medical staff of the United States Fencing Association.

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