Preventing Overuse Injury In Child Athlete
Overuse injury is common among the child athlete. Unfortunately, 50% are preventable with the proper awareness and protocols. The following are some practical steps to take to help prevent overuse injuries.
1) Get an annual pre-participation physical. It is typical that most high schools and middle schools will require a physical, there are many summer or recreational leagues that may not. The annual exam may help to catch potential problems at an early stage and potentially prevent long-term issues.
2) Warm Up. Encourage your child to warm up and stretch before every practice or competition. Proper warm up requires a gentle elevation of the heart rate by doing low impact exercise, such as mild jogging. This increases the blood flow to the muscles, this then makes stretching easier and more effective.
3) Proper Equipment. Make sure your child has the right equipment and that it fits correctly. Too tight or loose equipment will affect normal joint motion as well as continually rubbing against the body, creating inflammation and sores. Weekly checks for fit, wear and tear is a great idea.
4) Proper Techniques. Make sure coaches and trainers are available to instruct and observe the various techniques required for each sporting action. Proper techniques for actions like throwing or kicking are vital to help prevent overuse injury.
5) Pitch Counts. Is sports such as baseball and softball, be aware of the appropriate age related number of pitches. Don’t let your child be pushed to throw more than they should at their age. Pitch Smart has a breakdown of the number of pitches per game as well as days off. Stop Sports Injury Now has pitch guides for softball.
6) Gradually increase training. As your child improves, it is natural to increase their training. When increasing the training, use the 10% rule: do not increase weight, pace, mileage, reps etc. by more than 10% per week.
7) Stay Hydrated. Make sure your child drinks enough water. In the midst of competition or training, many child athletes for get to hydrate. Note: water is the best for rehydration. Do not use the sweetened drinks.
8) Cross Train. As your child develops training habits, make sure they include a variety of different activities. Continually performing the same actions can increase the risk of wear and tear on the joints, muscles and ligaments.
9) Don’t specialize. At an early age, encourage your child to try different sports and positions. Specializing in one sport or position at an early age causes the child to continually perform repetitive activities that are unique to that sport or position.
If you think your child is suffering from an overuse injury, call our office today at (314) 731-4383 or CLICK TO CALL NOW! As a 1984 graduate of Life Chiropractic College, Dr. Martin Schmaltz has years of helping those who are experiencing pain, especially those in the extremities. He is board qualified in sports injury through Los Angeles Chiropractic College and has extensive training in treating extremity and sports injury.