Kids Sports Injuries

Do you ever wonder if you should bring your kid in to see a manual therapy Doctor? 

He or she might be a competitive athlete, or may be complaining of frequent headaches, back pain, knee pain or ankle pain.  Kids get injured just like we do AND in some ways we don’t.

So the answer is YES, your kiddo most likely needs a treatment if they are complaining of pain, headaches or perhaps are not performing as well in sports as they used to.

The good news is kids get better fast.  They are regenerating and repairing much quicker then us old folks, and it usually does not take long the get them feeling better and performing better.

Sports specialization and sports specific training are causing an increase in repetitive overuse injuries in youth athletes. 

In general youth athletes are over trained and underprepared, make them very susceptible to injury.  Youth athletes are often under trained in the basics of strength (squat, lunge, lift, push, pull, carry), leaving their young developing bodies very susceptible to overuse injuries.

We frequently see competitive swimmers ages 10-18 with rotator cuff injuries or tears, soccer players with knee injuries and stress fractures, volley ball players with low back and shoulder injuries, track athletes with hip, knee, ankle and foot injuries and stress fractures, and football players with low back, neck, head, ankle and knee injuries.

Most young athletes respond very well to a combination of gentle manipulation, soft tissue work, functional taping, corrective exercises, movement and loading preparation and REST.

Within a short amount of time they are back playing competitively or recreationally without pain and performing at a higher level as their bodies are prepared for load and explosive power.

Growing Pains

Your kid says his knee hurts, or his ankle hurts, or maybe his hip...

But you can’t remember anything happening to him.  He looks fine, you don’t see any cuts or swelling.  Should you take him seriously?

These are all great questions; questions that doctors seem to be debating as well.  There is general disagreement around the cause of “growing pains”, as it does not appear to be corelated with growth.  There is hesitancy around the diagnosis, and general confusion around best management of this very common childhood condition.

Now in kiddo’s, you have to remember that many of their bones have open growth plates (yes their knee cap is in 2 parts) and does not fully fuse together until they are around 14-16.  So, in most cases you have a gigantic tendon attached to a open growth plate, and as you might imagine this could become a problem area in an athletic kid.

What your child needs good manual therapy (soft tissue work, chiropractic, corrective exercises and corrective loading) to reduce the tension from those big tendons pulling on unfused bones, AND advice on how to care for themselves.

The bottom line: get some help for your kiddo, their pain is very real.

Headaches

Tight muscles in the neck and upper back are the most common cause of headaches in both kids and adults. 

Your kiddo will probably complain of neck pain, pain behind the eyes or temples or pain in the front of their head.

Causative factors for tight muscles include eye strain from video or computer use, poor posture resulting in neck strain, poor diet, dehydration, sleep posture, recent whiplash injury (whether in sports or in a car accident), or stress.

Kids with muscle tension type headaches usually treat very easily and quickly.  Skilled manual therapy is key, and provides a much longer lasting and safer alternative to ibuprophen or acetamataphine.  Postural coaching is also so important.

Tech Neck

Oh the pain of watching our kids slouched over their phones or video game consoles! 

Poor posture combined with eye strain from excessive computer work can really flare up the neck and upper back, causing neck pain, upper back pain, shoulder issues and often headaches.

The development of text neck leads to head forward posture as an adult, causing a host of upper back, neck and shoulder issues down the road.  Frequent “activity breaks” are key.  Encourage your kiddo to  get up, move around, stretch and take a break.

Concussions

Concussion is estimated to occur at a rate of 4 million case per year and is considered the silent epidemic of kids health. 

It is estimated that only 1 in 6 cases of concussion are accurately diagnosed and managed, which means you as the parent need to know the facts if you are going to keep your kids safe.

The most common causes of concussion in sports are still football, soccer and basketball, but there are many other causes of concussion as well.

An injury to the neck, for example a whiplash injury from a car accident or a bad fall, can also cause concussion as the brain bounces around inside of the scull, causing bruising to the brain.  Concussion is more common than kids than adults, as children’s brains are still developing.

The great news is that 80% of concussions, when properly diagnosed and managed, will improve in 10-14 days. 

Concussions can be difficult to recognize as a parent, because they are purely subjective, and can be confused as behavioral issues or just kids being kids.

Here are the main signs and symptoms to look out for:

  • A change in thinking or emotions (irritable, sad, overly emotional)
  • A headache that occurs after the incident
  • Vision change or light sensitivity
  • Sensitivity to loud noises
  • Complaints that they just don’t feel right
  • Acting like they are foggy, dazed or just out of it
  • Nausea
  • Being super tired
  • Balance issues

A concussion is considered a medical emergency if any of these symptoms are present:

  • Loss of consciousness for any length of time
  • Asymmetric movements
  • Vomiting repeatedly
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Dense confusion that does not change

We are skilled at diagnosing and managing concussions here at Head 2 Toe. 

Our expert Athletic Trainers have advanced training in this area, and will help you manage your kiddos concussion and get the treatment your child needs if they do have a whiplash injury.

Car accidents

Kids get injured in car accidents just like adults, except for sometimes worse.

Before puberty, children have a spine strength that is only 25% of that of an adult.

For this reason, whiplash can have a longer term effect on them. Their spin and neck are weaker and unable to withstand the force that an adult can and so whiplash can have a longer-term effect on their health.

The good news is that with the proper care team, kids heal fast! And with correct treatment, you will prevent your child from having chronic neck pain as an adult.

Tweens and teens are usually affected similarly to adults in cases of whiplash. This is because their spines more closely resemble that of a fully grown adult and will respond in a similar way.  This means their treatment may take longer.  However, I have found that teenagers often respond quicker than adults.

Concussion is an extremely common outcome from a car accident. Concussions need to be watched carefully and managed correctly.

The Head 2 Toe team offers expert care in diagnosing, treating and managing accident injuries in children.