How to Prevent Skateboarding Injuries

Skateboarding is very popular among children and teenagers. But since it is an extreme sport, it is practically impossible to prevent an injury from happening. According to OrthoInfo, skateboarding-related injuries accounted for more than 78,000 visits to the emergency room among children and adolescents in 2011.

You can lessen the risk of your child getting an injury by constantly reminding him or her to take safety precautions. Here are some of the things to remind your kid once he or she is about to go skateboarding:

Wear protective gear.

Yes, wearing a helmet is very important, but other parts of the body need to be protected as well. Using protective equipment such as knee and elbow pads, wrist guards, and slip-resistant shoes will reduce fractures, sprains, and bruising as well as prevent gravel burns if your child falls from the skateboard.

Invest in a high-quality skateboard.

The skateboard your child is using should be in a great condition and age-appropriate. It also needs to be checked before every ride to see if there are any loose parts or cracked wheels.

Skate in a controlled environment.

Know where your child is going to skate. Skate parks are the safest places to skate because they are far from pedestrians and vehicle traffic. On the other hand, tell your kid to avoid homemade ramps and crowded places when going skating. Advise your kid to inspect the riding terrain first and to avoid skateboarding in rough or uneven surfaces.

Know your limits.

Advise your child not to ride beyond his or her abilities. Your child might be tempted to try out tricks that they have seen from watching the pros. Advise them against doing advanced skating tricks outside of their skill level without mastering the basics first.

In the event of a skateboarding injury, I highly encourage you to consult with a San Diego orthopedic surgeon to ensure the safety of your child.

Yes, There is Such a Thing as ‘Growing Pains’

The term ‘growing pains’ is not just an expression. What many parents do not know is that this is an actual medical condition experienced by pediatric and adolescent patients.

Growing pains usually happens to children who are experiencing rapid growth. These pains happen in two phases: during early childhood for children between the ages of 3 to 5, and during pre-puberty for children between the ages of 8 to 12.

These growing pains are often experienced by children in their calves, thighs, and knees. They often happen during late afternoons and early evenings, and are typically localized. Most experts attribute them to muscular tiredness, especially if the child has exerted a lot of physical activities for the day.

How to Treat Growing Pains

Since this is a non-traumatic injury, treatment can be done at home by icing and gently massaging the affected area, as well as taking anti-inflammatory drugs and having plenty of rest. The achiness and pain will usually go away overnight.

To prevent this from happening again, I would suggest that you encourage your child to take part in various sports. This way, all the muscle groups in your kid’s body will be given a workout, instead of overstraining the same muscles day in and day out.

When to Seek Professional Treatment

Although ‘growing pains’ are quite common among children, they should not be completely disregarded. If your child’s ‘growing pains’ do not subside and continue to worsen, or if the muscles seem to be overly tender, consider making an appointment with a San Diego pediatric orthopedic doctor.

If these aches and pains remain untreated, they could worsen and lead to a more serious injury. Drop by my clinic to determine if what your kid has is just growing pains, or if it is something else entirely.

Preventing Kids’ Sports Injuries This Spring

Now that spring is here and summer not too far behind, most young people are out there in the sunshine, indulging in their favorite pastimes. And with April being National Youth Sports Safety Month, we need to ensure the safety of our kids when playing sports.

The first few weeks of spring are usually a busy time for us at the clinic because a lot of children get injured at this time of the year. As a San Diego orthopedic surgeon, I’d like to offer some tips that you can implement to prevent sports injuries:

Pre-participation physical examination

Undergoing a PPE will help identify if your kid has a pre-existing medical condition that you may not be aware of, and may affect their ability to play.

Warm-ups and cool-downs

Make sure that your kid sets aside enough time to warm-up before practice and game sessions, and that they get to cool down after. Doing so minimizes the risk of muscle strain and other soft tissue injuries.

Right sporting equipment

Check if the equipment is the right fit and still in great condition. If your child is using an old equipment, it may be time for an upgrade. Many advances have been made in the field of sports equipment which not only improves performance, but prevents injury.

Right transition

If your child has not been playing a lot during winter, it is best that they don’t return to their previous level of exertion right away. Make sure to pace them when playing.

This is especially important if your kid is making the jump from middle school to high school, where the practices can be a lot more demanding than what your kid is normally used to.

If your child does get injured from a sporting event, check for any symptoms that continue to persist. At this point, it is best to consult a pediatric orthopedic to get the right diagnosis and the best treatment.

A Cautionary Tale About Sports and Children

The Los Angeles Times has published a blockbuster story about what happens when a parent pushes a child too far in the pursuit of sports glory. The tale is a harrowing account of a father’s pride, and how those expectations led one very young athlete to push his body past the point of no return, and into a dangerous zone:

His son Aidan has been in almost constant pain for several years after being diagnosed with a disease partially caused by being pushed to play sports through injury and affliction. At one point he thought about suicide. Today he feels lucky if he can physically show up for high school baseball practice.

This is an extreme example, of course. But it is instructive as a portrait of our influence over young people, and how powerful the pressure can be from a parent to overcome pain and disappointment in search of a win:

Aidan eventually played three sports, all with his father on the sidelines or in the stands, which meant they could spend eight hours a day together on various fields throughout the Southland while Rebecca and Cullen’s other son Beckett, now 14, stayed home. Aidan was becoming a neighborhood star, but the cost was slowly growing.

Alas, a terrifying diagnosis was just around the corner.

By the spring of his junior year, he was finally diagnosed with a neurological disorder called Central Pain Syndrome, a condition in which damage to the central nervous system can cause constant pain. Doctors told Cullen that one of the causes may have been that Aidan constantly played hurt.

As a pediatric orthopedist, I have seen several variations on this story over the years. The notion that toughness or grit should supercede the body’s own pain response is a dangerous one, and it can claim the athletic careers of very young people, very quickly.

If you want better advice about how to cycle through activities, get rest, and let your kids be kids – even the high-achieving ones – please don’t hesitate to contact sports medicine expert Dr. William Holland today.