Young athletes are committed—practices, training, games, meets, matches and more. Many kids and teenagers move right from one sports team, league or season to the next, leaving little chance for their bodies to get a break.
“We love to encourage kids to get exercise and learn sportsmanship,” explains Erika Sandell-Savor, physical therapist and coordinator for the Thrower's Program
at Institute for Athletic Medicine. “However, it is also important for kids and parents to recognize when the athlete’s body needs a break to rest or heal a minor injury. This helps prevent complications or a more serious injury in the future.”
Overuse injuries and youth sports
Overuse injuries are common in youth sports, especially those like baseball, volleyball and swimming that involve repetitive motions. Repetitive stresses placed on muscles, tendons, bones and even nerves can cause microscopic damage to tissue, and injury can occur when the body cannot recover in time to repair the damage between periods of activity.
“No matter how competitive we can get with youth sports, playing through an injury or pain is never a good option,” says Erika. “Instead, there are often changes in posture, mechanics and training that we can recommend to make sure the injury can safely heal.”
Symptoms that should not be overlooked
If your child experiences any of the following symptoms stemming from a sport he or she plays, consider seeing a professional for advice on ways to keep playing while, at the same time, preventing injury.
- Pain after practice that doesn’t go away with rest, ice and/or training modifications
- Pain that interferes with performance, participation or activities of daily living
- Pain during rest or at night
- Mechanical symptoms such as catching or popping in joints such as the shoulder, knee or hip
“We want to keep kids playing sports while keeping them healthy,” says Erika. “If you have a question about your child’s sports injury or want to talk about how to prevent them, come see us.”
The Institute for Athletic Medicine
has more than 30 convenient locations throughout the Twin Cities—make an appointment today
The Institute for Athletic Medicine, a service of Fairview and North Memorial, provides orthopedic and sports physical therapy at locations throughout the Twin Cities.