Youth Sports Injuries: The Googlechondriac Learns About Therapies

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Remember the good old days when you played just one sport at a time for a short period of time?

That’s not the case anymore–some kids play several sports at a time–or one sport all the time.

Orthopedic surgeon Steven Michelsen of Forest Park Medical Center in Frisco said that a growing body that can lead to trouble.

“Many of those suffer injuries weather they may be overuse or traumatic injuries to some of their bones that require medical attention.”

Dr. Michelsen said the annual medical bill for injured kids is $1.8 billion dollars.

The usual suspect injuries include inflammation of the ankles, knees and hips. There’s actually a name for the injury lots of young baseball player get–little league elbow.

“We hit a growth spurt,” Dr. Michelsen said. “The bones are getting longer, muscles are under more tension like a bow string and they continue to throw and that created the inflammation.”

It’s basically a combination of too young, too much, too often. If you don’t wait too long–treatment is pretty simple.

“Usually if we catch it early enough it can be simply rest, ant-inflammatory, icing, and stretching,” Dr. Michelsen said. “If it’s acute and they’re in that much pain we give it a cool down period.”

Let it cool down long enough and the kids are usually good to go–but some injuries require surgery.

“We’re seeing a higher number of ACL tears in younger athletes,” Dr. Michelsen said.

Back in the day the rule of thumb was to wait until kids got older and more physically mature to repair the knee–but Dr. Michelsen said not anymore.

“The new school of thought is to reconstruct them,” Dr. Michelsen said. “Sometimes you have to modify the way you do the surgery to protect growth plates but in the long term it protects your knee for a longer period of time.”

Dr. Michelsen said parents, kids, coaches and trainers should talk to make sure those young bodies aren’t being overused.

And here’s a final tip for the young–and the young at heart.

“It’s not always a good idea to fight through the pain of an injury,” Dr. Michelsen advised. “You need to get it evaluated.”