Preventing Musculoskeletal Sports Injuries in Youth:

A Guide for Parents Part 2

 (Presented by End Results Health & Wellness).

 

Childhood Sports Injuries: A Common and Serious Problem

 

In the first Newsletter, We talked about how more than 38 million children and adolescents participate in organized sports in the United States each year. Still more participate in informal recreational activities.

There is a risk of sports-related injuries when young children participate in these sports or recreational activities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2.6 million children 0 to 19 years old are treated in the emergency department each year for sports and recreation-related injuries.

In the first Newsletter, we spoke about Sprains and Strains, the difference between the two injuries, what causes them and most importantly, how to treat these injuries and prevention!

In this Newsletter, we'll talk about Growth Plate Injuries, how they occur , home remedies to treat this type of injury prior to visiting a orthopedic surgeon(a doctor who specializes in bone injuries). And how to prevent a growth plate injuries.

 

 

What is a Growth Plate?

 

A growth plate is the soft areas of cartilage near the end of a growing bone that regulate its shape and eventual length. These regions are called growth plates. When you stop growing, the growth plates in your bones harden and become functionally identical to the rest of your bone tissue.

When an older adolescent nears the end of his/her growth spurt, the strength of his/her bones' growth plates is often less than the strength of his ligaments. This is especially true in youngsters who engage in strength training activities like weight lifting and bodybuilding.

If an adult with fully ossified bones - bones which are not growing longer - suffers an unfortunate accident, it may put a joint under enough stress to cause ligament damage. When an adolescent is involved in the same sort of accident, and his bone's growth plate is weaker than his ligaments, he often ends up with a growth plate fracture rather than a ligament tear.

 

 Why do people think that weight training stunts an adolescents growth?

 

Lifting weights will not stunt your growth. However, there are caveats you should be aware of. The US government collects data on injuries among adolescents. Its findings indicate that approximately 50% of growth plate fractures occur during sports or recreation activities. Soccer, basketball, football, skateboarding, and bicycling are the five activities most likely to result in growth plate fracture. Weight training was not directly implicated in any growth plate fractures.

It is reasonable to conclude that the old wives' tale which states that weight lifting can stunt your growth is not only false, it is harmful. The risk of growth plate fracture from an accident during strength training activities is no reason for adolescents to be denied the many positive benefits of strength training.

It is not my purpose to go into details on why weight training doesn't stunt an adolescent's growth in this Newsletter. For information on that, contact me at the email listed below and I'll be happy to provide more information!

 

Growth Plate Injuries

 

A growth plate fracture affects the layer of growing tissue near the ends of a child's long bones. Growth plates are the softest and weakest sections of the skeleton - sometimes even weaker than surrounding ligaments and tendons. An injury that might cause a joint sprain for an adult can cause a growth plate fracture in a child.

Growth plate fractures often need immediate treatment because they can affect how the bone will grow. An improperly treated growth plate fracture could result in a fractured bone ending up more crooked or shorter than its opposite limb. With proper treatment, most growth plate fractures heal without complications.

In some sports accidents and injuries may occur to the growth plate. Below are the more common injuries.

  • the long bones of the hand and fingers (metacarpals and phalanges)
  • both bones of the forearm (radius and ulna)
  • the bone of the upper leg (femur)
  • the lower leg bones (tibia and fibula)
  • the foot bones (metatarsals and phalanges).

If any of these areas become injured, it's important to seek professional help from an orthopedic surgeon, a doctor who specializes in bone injuries.

 

 

Symptoms

Most growth plate fractures occur in bones of the fingers, forearm and lower leg. Signs and symptoms of a growth plate fracture may include:

  • Pain and tenderness, particularly in response to pressure on the growth plate
  • Inability to move the affected area or to put weight or pressure on the limb
  • Warmth and swelling at the end of a bone, near a joint

Although a growth plate fracture can be confused with a sprain, a fracture usually will have more swelling and persistent pain over time.

Treatment

  • Treatment for sports-related injuries will vary by injury. But if your child suffers an injury such as a bone injury, the best immediate treatment is easy to remember: RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) the injury. Get professional treatment if any injury is severe. A severe injury means having an obvious fracture or dislocation of a joint, prolonged swelling, or prolonged or severe pain.

 

Prevention of Injuries

  • Enroll your child in organized sports specific training program directed and overseen by a Certified Strength and Conditioning Expert such as the ones at End Results Health & Wellness.
  • End Results has sports specific programs and Trainers on staffs who are certified athletic trainers. These individuals are trained to prevent, recognize, and provide immediate care for athletic injuries.
  • Make sure your child has-and consistently uses-proper gear for a particular sport. This may reduce the chances of being injured.
  • Make warm-ups and cool-downs part of your child's routine before and after sports participation. Warm-up exercises make the body's tissues warmer and more flexible. Cool-down exercises loosen muscles that have tightened during exercise.
  • Make sure your child has access to water or a sports drink while playing or exercising. Encourage him or her to drink frequently and stay properly hydrated. Remember to include sunscreen and a hat (when possible) to reduce the chance of sunburn, which is a type of injury to the skin. Sun protection may also decrease the chances of malignant melanoma-a potentially deadly skin cancer-or other skin cancers that can occur later in life.

End Results Health & Wellness has developed unique sports specific exercise programs to help prevent injuries from occurring in young Athletes. For more details about our Periodization Sports Specific Youth Athletic program contact us.

 

This article was written by Curtis Mann Co- Owner and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

Information for this News Article was obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Mayo Clinic.