Sports injuries are on the rise in children and teenagers and every year more than 3.5 million sports-related injuries occur in children under the age of 15, many of those due to repetitive motion or repeated impact. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatricians estimates that 50% of all injuries are due to overuse. Conditions unique to growing children like Osgood-Schlatter’s and Sever’s Disease can also limit activity and sport participation.
While a mistake to consider children as simply mini-adults, young athletes have many of the same orthopedic needs of older individuals. However these needs – muscular strength, neuromuscular re-education, stability, coordination, etc – need to be addressed in a manner tailored to each specific young athlete.
The bad news – the traditional practice of substituting active play for physical therapy often inadequately prepares a child for activity or sports.
The good news – injuries in young athletes are both preventable and treatable when they do occur. Injury prevention and treatment programs should be exercise based and include the following elements.
Preparation = Prevention
Structured injury prevention programs can reduce injuries by up to 80% and have been shown to be more effective the earlier the young athlete develops good strengthening and coordination habits.
Learn How To Move
While every child has the ability to run, jump and cut, learning how to move in a coordinated fashion is a critical piece of injury prevention and athletic performance. Our trainers and physical therapists all have a variety of experience in sport-specific movement.
Kids Can Strengthen
In addition to varying endurance exercise by including different cross-training activities like swimming, biking, or stair climbing, young athletes need to include strengthening exercises. Stronger muscles not only make young athletes injury-resistant, but also better athletes.
What We Do
Our young patients range from the ages of 8-18 and our afternoon after-school clinic hours are designed with the pediatric patient in mind. Even children with “minor” injuries can benefit from physical therapy as we can offer sport-specific movement training designed to prevent future injury by teaching young athletes how to optimally and efficiently move.