What are Overuse Injuries, and How Do You Prevent Them?

The rise in the number of young people participating in organized and recreational sport has led to an increase of sports-related injuries. There are two types of injuries that happen to children: acute and overuse. Acute injuries are the result of a single, traumatic event, such as a sprained ankle or a dislocated shoulder.

On the other hand, overuse injuries are repetitive actions that cause a lot of stress and trauma on the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. These injuries are often subtle and occur over a period of time, making them difficult to diagnose and treat. Examples of overuse injuries are tennis elbow, Achilles tendinitis, shin splint, and ACL tear.

Causes of Overuse Injuries

Overuse injuries happen when there is an increase in the intensity, duration, or frequency while playing a sport, without giving enough time for the body to fully recover. The injury can also be exacerbated if the excessive physical activity is combined with inadequate warm up, improper technique, or unsuitable equipment.

Prevention of Overuse Injuries

To prevent this type of injury from happening, have the child learn about proper form and technique from a coach or trainer. Any increase in training intensity should not be more than 10% at any given time. Avoid sports specialization until late adolescence; instead, encourage the child to try out a variety of sports.

Also stress the importance of having a rest day to recover both physically and mentally. If an overuse injury persists, consult with a San Diego pediatric orthopedic doctor to come up with a more detailed treatment plan for your child.

At the end of the day, the goal is to help your child become a well-rounded person who enjoys doing physical activities. An overuse injury can sideline and blindside your young athlete, so make sure to promote a healthy balance of play and rest.

How to Choose the Right Sports for Your Child

Summer is the perfect time for you to encourage your child to go outside, soak in the sunshine, and try out new things, like organized sports. Doing so will not only make them physically active, but will also teach them how to work with their peers and figures of authority.

Participating in sports over the summer will also teach them the values of competition and cooperation, as well as improve their confidence and body image.

If you’re still at a loss as to what type of sports to engage your child in, check out the following tips and suggestions:

Start the child with easier activities.

Start the child with activities that aren’t hard to master, such as playing catch or kicking ball. Once the child gets better at it and grows older, you can introduce the idea of team sports or competitive sports.

Involve the child in the decision process.

Expose the child to a variety of sports and watch out for signs of enthusiasm to determine which particular activity he or she likes the most. Or, you can simply ask what type of sports your kid wants to play. If children are part of the decision process, they are more likely to be engaged with the activity.

Consider the child’s physical traits and personality.  

Consider the strengths, weaknesses, and personality of your child. Some body types are more suited to a certain type of sports than others. Is the child stocky enough to play football, or tall enough to play basketball? Is the kid more inclined towards team sports, or individual sports?

Prevent Injury by Choosing the Right Sports

Unfortunately, summer is also the time when injuries among young athletes are high. If your child has a chronic health condition or a disability, you may want to consult with a San Diego pediatric orthopedic first for a pre-sports checkup and ask what activity would be best suited for your child.

Finding the right sports activity from the get go may be next to impossible, and it can take a series of trial and error before your kid gets it right. Still, the process of finding the right sports to play for the summer is important in order to prevent sports injury. And even if a sport is not a good fit, it can still be a great learning experience for your child.