Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Healthy Habits: Orthopedic Injuries in Kids

Springtime brings the start of youth/teen and adult sports and with it many injuries can occur, including injuries to head, neck and hip. Many coaches and parents do not know how to recognize the signs and symptoms or what to do when an injury occurs.  I had a chance to interview Dr. Derek Ochiai, Leading Sports Medicine Expert and Orthopedic Surgeon in Arlington, VA, about what parents should do when an injury occurs, how to recognize those symptoms and how they can prevent injuries.

What are some common orthopedic injuries that kids often suffer?
Common injuries: ankle sprains, "tendinitis" type overuse injuries (but this is a specialized tendinitis, which affects where the tendon attaches to the bone, like Osgood-Schlatter's Disease (knee) and Sever's Disease (ankle). Because children's bones are growing, the growth plate is a weak point, and broken bones frequently occur at that site.
Why do many tend to be overlooked?
Overuse conditions like Osgood-Schlatter's and Sever's can be overlooked because parents and coaches sometimes don't think overuse injuries can happen in children. Also, sometimes coaches don't know how much additional training a child may be doing outside of their practices. 
How can a coach or parent recognize the signs of a "hidden" injury?
Children want to play and participate. "Hidden" injuries can sometimes be recognized by a child limping or a drop in their usual performance.
What should a coach or parent do once they realize a child has been injured?
 If a child is injured, first of all get them out of practice or the game. If there is swelling or limping that persists for a couple of days, the child should follow-up with a medical professional.

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