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.

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