Reducing The Risk Of High School Injuries
With the onset of another school year, the process of routinely attending class and becoming involved with school-related activities has ensued. This includes participation in sports, as an enormous number of children and teenagers become involved with various sports that conduct their seasons during the months of fall.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), has stated that almost 30 million children and adolescents participate in sports. This includes high school athletes, who experience the many benefits of their involvement with their activities of choice. The results of a survey that was conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) also stated that participation in high school sports increased for a 29th straight year in 2018, which is partially due to the involvement of 15,009 additional girls into organized sporting activities.
Football remains entrenched as the sport in which most boys are participating, followed by track and field, basketball, baseball, soccer, cross country, wrestling, tennis, golf, and swimming/diving. The majority of girls are involved in outdoor track and field, followed by volleyball, basketball, soccer, fast-pitch softball, cross country, tennis, swimming/diving, and lacrosse.
Common Injuries For High School Athletes
Unfortunately, interest and involvement in high school sports can also result in health issues. This is true not only during the actual competition but also during the workouts and practices that are a necessity prior to every game. As a result, high school athletes account for an estimated 2 million injuries and 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year.
The growth rate of teenagers affects the development of their bones, which can lead to greater vulnerability toward problems with muscles and tendons. In many cases, high school athletes can also be confronted by a sudden impact that can cause an injury involving bones, joints or muscles.
These issues can be isolated in nature, and are referred to as acute by the medical community. Some acute injuries can be more serious than others, and this category includes sprains, strains, contusions, along with other conditions that are more severe such as torn ligaments, concussions, and fractures.
However, a large percentage of injuries related to sports will not involve a sudden occurrence during practice or games. Instead, the repetitive motion that is required can create injuries from overuse, as repeated movement can eventually create issues for muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones.
Stress fractures present one example of an injury that occurs due to overuse in high school athletes, as can other issues such as tennis elbow, golf elbow, shin splints. Any sport that uses an overhand throwing motion, can lead to health issues from the repetitive movement, while swimmers can develop problems with their shoulders. Gymnasts and cheerleaders can also encounter injuries to their elbows and wrists.
27% of the injuries that occur during high school sports involve the head and face. The second-highest number of issues occur with ankles, followed by knees, hips, thighs, hands, wrists, shoulders, lower legs, trunks, arms, elbows, feet, and necks.
How To Reduce The Chance Of Injuries
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has presented a group of recommendations for steps that will safeguard high school athletes from injuries, and effective conditioning spearheads this list of preventative measures. Avoiding a massive increase in training by undergoing a steady approach before each particular sport begins can reduce the injury risk that exists when athletes quickly expand the amount of time and the level of intensity of their exercise.
Practicing smartly by always using the correct technique, and making sure that all gear fits properly will also help diminish the risk of injury. The risk of problems due to overuse can be decreased by having athletes limit their participation to one sport per season, as opposed to being involved in multiple sports at the same time. It is also advantageous to avoid playing sports non-stop throughout the entire year without allowing the body to have a much-needed break.
What A Physician Can Do
Any high school athlete that has experienced an acute injury, or an issue from overuse, should receive an examination from a physician. There is risk involved in avoiding a visit to the doctor when these injuries develop because the condition can intensify and evolve into a more significant problem.
When a high school athlete is examined by a physician, he or she will ask a series of questions regarding how the injury transpired. The doctor will also check the symptoms, and inquire about any previous history of injuries. The physician might also order x-rays or other forms of imaging Before providing a diagnosis of the issue.
At Orthopedic Associates, We Are Here To Help
At Orthopedic Associates, we want you and your family to enjoy any sports or recreational activities that you have been cleared to participate in. If you encounter discomfort, illness, injury, or have a concern about anything that might keep you from being involved in physical activity, we are here to assist you. Our goal is for you to resume pain-free participation in the activities and lifestyle that you prefer.
That is why Orthopedic Associates offers a full spectrum of musculoskeletal care, along with in-house physical sports therapy, and state-of-the-art-technology including our digital imaging and open MRI, and an on-site surgical center for more patient convenience.
Our board-certified doctors have been practicing medicine for a combined 183 years. This includes expertise in sports medicine, through which our physicians provide personalized care for a broad range of sports-related injuries – big or small.
In addition to the services that we provide that are related to Sports Medicine and In-House Imaging, our physicians are always available to share their knowledge should you require joint replacement or arthroscopic surgery. Our specialists are also here to assist with physical therapy, rehabilitation, and orthopedic trauma.
The types of injuries that we can assist you with include:
- ACL Tears
- Weight lifter’s shoulders
- Rotator cuff tears
- Meniscal injuries and tears
- Sprains and strains
- Labral Tears
- Minor injuries like bruises, muscle cramps, pain, and shin splints
Some of the more common symptoms from a sports injury include:
- Sudden, severe pain
- Tender joints and bones
- Loss of ability to place weight on the injured joint
- Loss of ability to move the injured joint
- A joint or bone that is visibly out of place
Sometimes injuries will slowly emerge over a period of time, and these issues are referred to as chronic injuries. They often occur due to activities that involve repetitive motion such as running, swimming, or throwing. The symptoms of chronic injuries include:
- Pain during exercise
- Dull aches during resting
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or have any questions are sports related injuries, we encourage you to visit one of Orthopedic Associates two locations or request an appointment today to be on your way to feeling better.