Preventing Kid Injuries During Skiing

Skiing is a great way to get your kids off the iPad and onto the slopes – an outdoor recreation that lets California born-and-breds see a side of the natural world they might otherwise never witness up close.

But snow is also a fast, high-impact, and slippery medium, one which punishes the overconfident among us with terrible spills. Thousands of children are injured skiing each year in preventable ways, and the vast majority of these could be helped with a little education.

This page is a great place to start. It outlines the most common ski injuries among children, from head injuries to broken bones to torn cartilage. As a pediatric orthopedist, I follow all such resources with interest, and I found this especially helpful:

The majority of these injuries occurred when there was less than 1 inch of new snowfall, and snowfall of less than 2 inches was associated with increased injury severity. This corroborates the long-held ski patroller observation that, with low snowfall, the slopes are icier and faster and skiers are at increased risk of all injuries under such conditions—particularly severe injuries.

In other words, less snow means more go: icier conditions are more difficult to manage and harder to strike. Scant snowfall also means there are often fewer people on the slopes, which can cut both ways: it reduces the chance of a collision with another skier, but it provides far more room to open up and attain top speeds.

Bottom line: ski your expertise, and do not try harder slopes until you have mastered the level before. Making sure that all boots and skis are properly sized is important too, and don’t forget to study some simple ways to minimize the damage of an impact when you lose control.

For more information about pediatric injuries and pediatric orthopedic surgery in San Diego, contact the offices of Dr. William Holland today.

New Data on the Risks of Football for Kids

I see kids from every walk of life in my role as a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, but the most common sport that brings new patients is football. It perhaps goes without saying that football’s gladiatorial design leaves many new children hurt each season.

No area of football injury has garnered as much attention as concussions, which have earned extensive coverage up and down the age brackets. Professional football players continue to be diagnosed with unusually high rates of CTE, and most physicians believe that the high incidence of concussions on their sport is to blame.

Now new data suggests that younger players are at risk for similar lifelong difficulties, even when blows to the head do not rise to the level of official concussion:

It’s a sobering video, and a compelling reminder that there is much we yet don’t know about closed head injuries in children, or about sports injuries generally among young people.

If your child is a competitive athlete and you have questions about his or her long-term health, please don’t hesitate to contact the best pediatric orthopedist in San Diego.


When Blindness Comes From Childhood Injury

Childhood injuries a priority here at the American Orthopedic Sports Medicine Center. When I see children who have suffered injuries in competitive sports or recreational play, often I discover that they’ve been caused by preventable circumstances.

This article highlights one of the most tragic consequences of childhood athletics: blindness. Sadly the ever-increasing intensity of these athletic contests has precipitated an upward trendline in these serious injuries. In extreme cases, the loss can be permanent:

“We believe that sports eye injuries are the largest cause of vision loss in children,” said Keith Gordon, vice-president of research at CNIB, a Toronto-based non-profit that provides support services for the visually impaired.

Because basic safety gear such as goggles remain comparatively rare, sports injuries in children during basketball and baseball can be devastating if the blow strikes close enough to the yee. This holds true throughout adolescence, and grows increasingly dangerous as the power of the competitors begins to outpace their reaction times.

I am proud to have been named one of the best pediatric orthopedists in San Diego. If your kid has suffered an eye injury or related sports injury and you want the best care in Southern California, contact my offices today.

The Overuse Epidemic of Sports Injuries in Kids

I have written about this before: many sports injuries in young people could be prevented by providing more reasonable timelines for rest, and creating longer offseasons. We could also help kids avoid injury by reducing the emphasis on single sport specialization, and dialing back the pressure overall.

It seems I am not alone. The American Medical Society of Sports Medicine recently issued a statement on the same problem, citing one member with a commonsense prescription:

“More and more kids are having adult-type surgeries,” she said, some from overuse or repetitive injuries. That kind of surgery, that was preventable. That didn’t have to happen. They throw too hard, too fast and they pitch through the pain…The risks of playing year-round are not only injuries, but burnout and getting sick of what they’re doing,” Bergeson said.

What’s the answer? Rest more. Relax more. Be a kid more. You can train hard when it’s time, but be sure and “clock out” enough to give your body time to recover, heal, and grow.

Ironically, too many injuries from overuse in a person’s early years can eliminate any chance of participating on a professional level in adulthood. So play the long game. And stop playing so much.

Let’s Talk About Soccer Injuries in Pediatric Orthopedics

As a San Diego pediatric orthopedist, I see a lot of young people and their parents for sports injuries. In many cases, these injuries are simple bangs and twists which will heal over time – but for a small minority, pediatric sports injuries suggest a larger pattern which foretells future health issues down the line.

Soccer is a surprisingly common culprit for injuries such as these, especially given the recent attention that football has received. Like football, soccer is still a contact sport, and some evidence suggests that it’s becoming a more common source of injuries as well:

The injury rate for youth soccer players aged 7 to 17 more than doubled over the 25-year period ending in 2014, according to an analysis of children treated in U.S. hospitals. Even though concussions accounted for just 7 percent of these injuries, the annual rate of concussions surged by almost 1,600 percent during the same period.

Soccer is certainly growing more popular, and that fact alone could account for some of the increase: no one has done a “per capita” study that I’m aware of. But there is a second hypothesis which may have some merit as well: the incidence of injuries has stayed flat, but parents and coaches are much more cautious today than they used to be about seeking medical care:

It’s also possible some of the increase in injuries came from a growing awareness of concussions and head traumas that prompts more kids to be treated in hospitals, Xiang said.

Whatever the case, it’s important to get treated and provide some test for young athletes as soon as possible. For the best sports medicine for kids in San Diego, contact the San Diego pediatric orthopedic offices of Dr. William Holland, MD, today.

The Best Pediatric Orthopedic Treatment in San Diego

Pediatric orthopedic treatment could mean the difference between an active life for your child, and suffering with injuries throughout his or her childhood.

Pediatric orthopedists tend to treat many of the same issues as their “adult-oriented” counterparts, with a couple of key differences. The first is that the patients are still growing, a fact which demands a powerful sensitivity to the exigencies of hormonal shifts and nutritional needs, not to mention the mechanics of a child’s evolving bones and muscles. The second difference is that the patients in question aren’t adults, and therefore do not always make decisions regarding exertion and rest with the same perspective that an older person might.

This interview offers a nice look at what we do as pediatric orthopedists in San Diego:

If you’d like to speak with an expert in orthopedic care for patients of all ages, the San Diego Orthopedic Surgery Center is a great place to start.

When Exercise for Kids Goes Too Far

Lost in Michelle Obama’s laudable effort to get kids off the couch and onto the field is the potential danger of going too far. There are some kids who do nothing but exercise all day, putting themselves at at risk of pushing their bodies past the limits of what young people are made to do.

When children train too hard for too long, the body adapts. Less energy goes into proper growth and development, and more goes into weathering the current condition, packing on bone mass and ceasing to grow taller and more flexible.

The result is a generation of kids who are far more prone to injury, and far less likely to develop as they otherwise would, leading to a rash of preventable health issues. The solution is to roll back the exercise and give their bodies time to recover:

“They are skeletally immature, trying to produce muscle and bone and get stronger, so adequate recovery is key – so [ensure] they get enough sleep for their age, that they are eating properly and getting all parts of the food chain. Also that they are hydrated adequately because dehydration can predispose to injury as well.”

Orthopedic injuries in kids are part of life: they play an outsized role in many youth sports whether we like it or not. But injuries which occur in slow motion through repetition and overuse are entirely preventable: all that is required is a sense of proportion and restraint.

To learn more, please contact the pediatric orthopedists at AOSM here today.