One of the best ways to keep kids up, out, and active this summer is to encourage sports participation. Whether it involves organized team sports or a little informal one-on-one competition, sports are a great way to prevent kids from becoming couch potatoes. However, summer sports are not without risk. Here are several common sports injuries you might encounter during the summer months, as well as several tips and techniques to avoid visits to the doctor’s office.
1. Sprains and Strains and Tendon injuries
The most common sports-related injuries in children (and adults) are sprains and strains. Sprains involve ligament damage and strains involve muscle damage. They each can range from very mild to severe. Sprained ankles can occur on the basketball court or while just running around the back yard. Proper footwear is a good start to help prevent ankle sprains, but sometimes they are inevitable. Imagine after a jumpshot you land on an opponent’s foot. You will likely injury your ankle. You or your child may be running full speed for a loose ball and feel an immediately pain in a muscle, such as the hamstring (posterior thigh). That would be a muscle strain. Dynamic stretching and having your body properly warmed up before strenuous exercise is a great way to prevent that. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is an excellent place to start with treating the injuries initially.
Some of these injuries are due to sudden movements and others due to repetitive movements. Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, lateral epicondylitis and medial epicondylitis, respectively are overuse injuries. The best way to prevent them is through proper technique and training methods. Once the injury occurs, it often requires rest, anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen or naproxen), and physical therapy exercises.
2. Broken Bones (Fractures)
There is virtually no limit to the ways a child can fracture or break a bone with summer physical activities. Whether it’s from a trampoline, skateboarding, football, or a bicycle accident, these injuries can be serious if not treated appropriately.
Some fractures are obvious with an unnatural deformity, like an S-shaped curve in a child’s forearm. Others can be subtle and occur from overuse during sports when a child doesn’t give his/her body time to rest between games or activities. An example of that would be a stress fracture in a runner’s foot or gymnast’s lower back. The best ways to prevent fractures are to use protective equipment and get plenty of rest between exercises.
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3. Eye injuries
Children who play sports and are active during the summer also run the risk of eye injuries. A thrown ball can strike a child in the face, and debris can get into the eyes when swimming.
You can prevent eye injuries with protective wear, such as goggles. If your child has an eye injury, you should take him/her to an emergency room or urgent care center as soon as possible for an immediate exam. In rare cases, some eye injuries can have long-lasting effects and threaten a child’s vision.
When the temperature rises, it becomes much more dangerous for young bodies to exert themselves when not properly hydrated. Dehydration increases the likelihood of muscle cramps and other overuse injuries.
The simple solution is to avoid soda and caffeine, and drink plenty of water before, during, and after heavy physical activity.
5. Head injuries
Head injuries can be serious and, thankfully, they are not as common as some of the other summer sports injuries listed here. But, they do happen and can result from any contact sport – hockey, football, or soccer.
You can prevent these injuries by requiring that your child wear a helmet to participate in these sports. If there is a possibility of concussion, such as headache, fogginess, or memory difficulty after head trauma, be sure to seek immediate medical attention.
If you do run into trouble this summer, you will not have to deal with it on your own. Premier Urgent Care has convenient office hours and is available to see you and/or your child whether you have an appointment or not. We’re located in the Hyde Park/Kenwood area and offer free parking for our patients.
Visit https://premierucchicago.com to learn more about different types of health facilities, such as urgent care clinics, to help you decide which facility can best treat your condition at the appropriate time and with the right resources.
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