With school sports season back in session, sports injuries in children and adolescents may see an increase. Although sports provide a great amount of physical and mental health benefits for athletes, too much activity can cause overuse injuries.
Overuse injuries happen over time when muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones do not have enough time to recover between training sessions. Recurring stress on the growth plates can also cause injury in younger children and affect the natural growth of the bone. Stress fractures are a common overuse injury as a result of tired muscles that then put stress on the bones to compensate.
Causes of overuse injuries include:
- Muscle imbalance and repeated stress on certain parts of the body from only participating in one sport or one activity
- Training errors such as not using proper technique and having poor form or gear
The good news is many overuse injuries can be prevented. Here are some tips on avoiding overuse injuries.
Instead of having your child or teen participate in one sport, encourage them to participate in other sports that interest them throughout the year and different seasons. This allows the body to use different muscle groups not repetitive trauma in one area.
Warm-Up and Cool Down
Warming up before physical activity and cooling down afterward is important to preventing overuse injuries and getting the muscle groups ready for training. Dynamic stretching should be used as a warm-up and static stretching as a cool down.
Proper Form and Gear
Ensuring proper form and gear such as wearing the correct footwear, are essential to preventing overuse. Practicing the right form and technique also allows for specific muscles work and skills to advance without unnecessary stress on other areas of the body.
Listen to Your Body
Listening to your body is one of the most important tips for preventing overuse injuries. Taking regular breaks and changing the intensity duration of the workout helps prevent repetitive trauma.
If you suspect your athlete or child is suffering from an overuse injury, consider visiting one of our urgent injury clinics in Ankeny and West Des Moines, or schedule an appointment with one of our DMOS Sports Medicine Orthopedic Specialists or physical therapists.
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