The fall season ushers in a myriad of sporting options for your kids. Whether it be Football, Soccer, Cross Country, Cheerleading, Volleyball, Field Hockey, Lacrosse, or even Water Polo, sports and activities require physical strength and stamina for optimal performance.
While practices and training help to make the body stronger, more agile, and up for the challenge, sporting injuries can also become a part of the game. As a parent, you don’t want to think about your child facing an injury (especially a serious one) during a game that is intended to bring them joy and positive challenges.
Top Sports Related Injuries in Children
Education and proactivity are your first line of defense for your child during their sports and activity seasons. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are more than 3.5 million sports injuries that occur annually in children. While injuries are not the ideal situation, being prepared for injuries to occur can make a world of difference in the outcome.
Some of the top injuries that children suffer in sports include:
- Ankle Sprains
- ACL Tears
- Shin Splints
- Turf Toe
Ankle sprains are considered minor injuries that often heal on their own while using the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). These types of sprains occur when the ligaments supporting the ankle stretch or tear. A child dealing with a sprain will likely experience pain & discomfort, swelling, tenderness, bruising, and instability.
The ACL (or anterior cruciate ligament) stabilizes your child’s knee joint connecting the femur to the tibia. Tears cause pain, swelling, and limited mobility of the knee and are often brought on by force being applied to the outside of the knee. ACL tears can also occur without impact during a jump or a twist.
Particularly common in new athletes who have not yet received extensive training, shin splints (or pain in the lower front of the leg) occurs when stress is put on the legs due to running on hard surfaces or overuse without proper conditioning.
When a child pushes off the ground and the big toe is forced upward, turf toe can be the result. Pain is often the only symptom however, some children experience swelling as well. While the name suggests that this happens on turf, it can occur on any hard surface where a child is running, jumping, or pushing off with their feet.
When parents think of sports injuries one of the first injuries that come to mind is often a concussion. Caused by force or trauma to the head, concussions are scary events for both child and parent, and should be taken seriously and with extreme caution.
Symptoms of a Concussions
The child should be monitored for symptoms that include headache, blurred vision, dizziness, mental fog, slow thinking, difficulty concentrating, and confusion. In addition to physical symptoms, emotional symptoms may develop as well. These include moodiness, irritability, sadness, and worry. Sleep issues may also occur such as drowsiness or having trouble falling asleep. While some symptoms (such as headache or pain) may occur rather quickly, others are not so immediate. Be sure to monitor your child as some signs and symptoms take up to 48 hours to manifest.
Treating Sports Injuries in Children
When an injury occurs during a sport or activity, it is important to monitor the symptoms to provide the most effective treatment. Major injuries may require additional time and treatment to heal properly. Do not rush the healing process. While getting back out on the field may be your child’s desire, it is most important that their body takes the time it needs to heal properly and fully.
Preventative and Lasting Care
If your child plans to participate in sports and other physical activities, preventative care may be an ideal option for your family. Upper cervical care provides your child with a solid foundation for physical success and healing. Due to the drug free, non-invasive, and overall gentle practice of upper cervical chiropractic care, it is incredibly safe and beneficial for children. Spinal maintenance helps to ensure that your child’s body is growing and functioning properly. It allows the brain to optimally communicate with the body providing proper form, function, and posture.
While many parents assume that only a spine or neck injury can be addressed by upper cervical care, this is not the case. Yes, a concussion can absolutely be a reason to see your upper cervical chiropractor. In fact, a concussion takes an average impact of 95 G’s of force to occur, while a neck injury can occur at 4 G’s.
This means two things. First, you cannot sustain a concussion without also having an underlying injury to the neck. Both injuries need to be managed appropriately. Your upper cervical chiropractor will work to balance and stabilize the neck, which is vital to restoring alignment and communication to the rest of the body.
Second, seemingly mild injuries and traumas (such as those listed in this article) may also result in undiagnosed neck trauma. When force is applied to the body, it is very possible that the neck alignment will suffer as a result. Consulting your upper cervical chiropractor, regardless of the sports injury, could be an absolute game changer for you and your family!