Prevention of Sports Injuries in Children

Keeping our kids safe and sound is the most important thing ever. However, we also need to help them realise their full potential in whatever they do and thus, we should not hinder them. As a result, we should learn how to prevent sports injuries in children in order to progress further. In order to promote an active and healthy lifestyle, sports are an integral part of their lives. With an increase in sports activities come an increase in injury risks and in this article, we will learn how some preventive measures against sports injuries in children.

Wearing safety equipment

Safety equipments are heavy and bulky and they can hinder movement. However, they are mandatory in most contact sports in order to protect the player. For example, helmets are a must while playing baseball and shin guards are compulsory for soccer. Not only are that, wearing the right size is crucial. Only when safety equipments are used correctly can they fully protect the user.

Ensuring that the playing surface is in good condition

The playing surface is very important in preventing injuries. There is a reason why football and rugby are played on soft turf and running events are done on rubberised surfaces. These soft surfaces help to absorb any shocks and impacts due to jumps and provide a soft cushioning when kids fall. However, if soccer is played on a field that has hardly much grass left, injuries risk are greatly increased. Children can easily suffer abrasions when they fall and can even twist their ankles when running at high speeds.

Ensure that kids have proper knowledge

You cannot expect a kid to know how to swim or play soccer without teaching them the basic skills. Therefore, you should always ensure that the children have had sufficient skills prior to letting them play own their own. This way, they can minimise the risk of injuries and still keep their body fit and healthy.

Warming up and cooling down is enforced

We all know the benefits of a proper warm up and cool down session. A warm up session helps to loosen the muscles and warm it up, allowing it to be more flexible and reduce the chance of injury. A cool down session reduces muscle stiffness, helps prep the muscles for repair and lowers the heart rate gradually. However, kids are not interested in spending time to perform warm ups and cool downs. Therefore, we must always strictly enforce it on them.

3 Reasons Why Physical Therapy is Important to a Sports Injury Recovery

Swelling, pain and loss of motion are common complaints following a sports injury. In order to regain post-injury levels, movement is extremely important. The experts in body movements are physical therapists who are trained to conduct specific exercises and stretches meant for aiding recovery to a specific part of the body. So, what are some reasons why physical therapy is important to a sports injury recovery?

Identification of deficiencies

Physical therapists are the ones who conduct each physical therapy session and they are trained to indentify deficiencies in the biomechanics of our body. Just by looking at how to body work will help them to know which part needs help. Therapists are also able to prescribe exercises which are helpful post surgery and help to ensure a fast recovery.

Increase range of motion

Post injury or surgery, the range of motion in that particular joint is extremely limited due to swelling and scarring. There will also be severe pain and the lack of ability to fully use the joint. As a result, exercises are required to be performed in order to overcome it. Physical therapy will help by ensuring a gradual increase in the intensity of exercises, helping to move your joints as much as possible without increasing much pain. It also helps to restore joint movements and strengthen the surrounding muscles.

Inhibit scar tissues formation

One of the side effects post surgery is the formation of scar tissues. However, scar tissues are undesirable due to various reasons such as cosmetic appearances, impediment of motion and as a source of discomfort. Scar tissues are usually darker in colour and their sizes depend on the depth of the wound. This can cause women to feel inferior and lose self confidence. Also, scar tissues are thicker and harder than normal tissues and this can impede motion especially if the scarring is at the joints. Being thicker and harder, it also presses down on other tissues, causing pain and lead to a higher chance of re-injury. Physical therapy starts early and this helps to reduce and inhibit the formation of scar tissues, lessening the chances of those effects mentioned above.

Physical therapy is an important part of the healing process. It actually starts before surgery and lasts all the way until around a year later. It helps to strengthen the muscles around the injury to help better support it and regain the range of motion after surgery.

Preventing Sports Injuries: Stretching Exercises

Medical research has proven that an increase in the flexibility of a muscle unit increases performance and reduces the amount of injuries sustained. Basic stretching exercises include warming up and cooling down sessions. The main mechanism is due to the loosen tendons after stretching which is less prone to tears when used. Stretching also helps to reduce the recovery time in-between sessions and increases the biomechanical efficiency.

There are basically 3 main types of stretching namely static, ballistic and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF). Static stretching is the most common and the safest amongst the 3. Static stretching works by slowly pulling the muscles towards its maximum end range of motion for a duration of 15 seconds. This is done in a painless and controlled environment and during the stretching exercise no sudden jerks should be made. It is performed for usually for 3 sets and after which an increase in flexibility will be observed. Static stretching should also be performed after the exercise to aid in recovery. Studies have shown that stretching can help to dissipate the lactic acid build up in the muscles which are responsible for the soreness experienced post-exercise.

Ballistic stretching on the other hand uses the momentum of a moving body to stretch it beyond the normal range of motion. This is also known as bouncing stretching which pulls your muscles through exercises such as bouncing on a trampoline while stretching the back. Medical studies have concluded that this is not useful and can lead to injuries since it stretches your muscles suddenly instead of progressively as seen in static stretches.

Last but not least is the proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretch. It is the fastest and most effective stretching method that combines passive and isometric stretching to obtain maximum flexibility. PNF stretch was originally intended for recovering stroke victims. It works by passively stretching the muscles and then contracting it isometrically and repeating over and over again.

Stretching can be easily performed anywhere regardless of the activity you are about to perform. In fact, stretching should not be considered a warm up exercise. You should perform stretching even before you commence your warming up exercises. Always keep your stretches sport specific so that you work the correct muscle groups. Remember to always exercise caution when doing stretches and do not work muscle groups that are injured or it can be further aggravated.

5 Common Injuries Suffered by Dancers

Dancing is a physical activity that is accompanied with a certain level or risk. Dancing is something that needs to be gradually built up from scratch and one cannot simply jump into it expecting to do something they have never tried. Proper warm up and stretching as well as cooling down exercises will need to be performed religiously before and after every session. Injuries can be career threatening to any dancer and it is important to take precautions to prevent them from happening.

Meniscus Knee Tear

Dancing requires a lot of jumping and knee twisting actions accompanied by sudden direction changes. This will place a lot of stresses on the knee, particularly the ligaments and meniscus. A tear in the knee meniscus is one of the most frequent injuries experienced by dancers and it can put you out of action for up to 6 months depending on the severity. It is important to strengthen the leg muscles particularly the knee, thigh and calf to help reduce the burden on the knee.

Ankle sprains

A proper ankle connection is important in dancing. Ankle sprains occur when upon landing from a jump, the outside of the ankle rolls inwards due to a loss of balance. This will cause the ligaments in the ankle to tear. Ankle sprains are painful and will hinder you in many aspects of your daily life. You will be out of action for up to a month.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is tendonitis of the Achilles tendon and it occurs due to muscle overuse after repeatedly acting pressure on the calf muscle. It happens most frequently in dancers who place a lot of their weight on the lower body.

Neck strain

Neck strain is a common injury and it happens so frequently because dancers have to move their head throughout a dance and many of them control it incorrectly. Instead of using the spine when they arch their neck, they use the tendons, overusing them.

Muscle cramps

Dance practices and rehearsals can sometimes take a long time and start from early in the morning till late at night. As a result, they are easy victims to muscle cramps due to fatigue and a lack of required electrolytes to replace the ones they lost throughout the day. Sometimes it can happen due to improper warm up exercises.

Dancing is a very physical demanding activity and the risk of injuries is high. New dancers will need to start slow while experienced dancers cannot be complacent and skip the basic warm up and cooling down exercises. Dancers will also need to ensure that they replace their lost fluid to prevent muscle cramps.

Possible Sports Injuries From Full Contact Martial Arts

Many people around the world participate in martial arts. There are 3 types of martial arts namely the light, medium and full contact martial arts and as the names suggest, each differs in the amount of body contact involved. Martial arts have many benefits to it, most prominently are the health benefits as well as the coordination between various parts of the body, body balance and flexibility. However, as with all kinds of full contact sports, there are injuries that are associated with it.

Facial Laceration

Facial lacerations are the most common injuries sustained from full contact martial arts. They account for nearly 50% of all injuries in martial arts. Martial arts is all about predicting what your opponent will do next and if you fail to react accordingly, it can cause trauma to parts of your body, commonly the face. The result of a full blown kick to the face can cause facial laceration.

Knee Tendinitis

During martial arts, tremendous stress is placed upon both of the knees and kicking is required throughout the whole session. As such, it can cause hypertension of the knee joint which will result to tendinitis. It can create strain to the back of the knees, patellar tendons and patella, causing pain and discomfort in players.

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are also a common injury in martial arts due to the nature of uneven surfaces that the event take place. Most venues will place gym mattresses or other soft cushioning materials to absorb the impact of players. However, these soft and uneven surfaces can lead to improper weight distribution when kicking, causing sprains in the ankles.

Kneecap Dislocation

Kneecap dislocation is a serious injury that happens when the patella is shifted out of alignment with the knee. It is often caused by improper leg alignment or sudden kneeling motion, causing a sudden trauma to the knee.

Plantar Fasciitis

Whenever our feet is in use, the connective tissue or plantar fascia which supports the arch of our foot will tighten and stretch. However, it is prone to overuse if the incorrect footwear is worn. It is especially common in people with flat feet and who do not use the correct footwear with the correct support.

Martial arts have a low risk of injury as compared to other full contact sports such as rugby. Most of the injuries that are suffered are often minor such as bruises. However, more serious injuries can happen either due to trauma or due to improper usage of protective equipment or total lack of them. Upon injury, for personal well-being, it is highly recommended to pursue professional diagnosis for the injury. It should be regardless of perceived severity as most injuries do not reveal the actual impact until years later or when there is severe pain. If the martial artist is serious about his practice, then all injuries should be treated at earliest time possible.

Difference Between Chiropractor and Orthopaedic Doctors

An unfortunate accident occurred one day while you were playing contact sports and that left you with a knee injury. You know that you need to consult a medical professional for this injury and you start to evaluate the options available. Should you go to an Orthopaedic doctor or should you go to a Chiropractor? Each has its own advantages. For some cases, chiropractic sports are great to treat certain injuries while some injuries fall outside the jurisdiction of chiropractic and only orthopaedic surgery can treat them.

Who are Chiropractors and how do they treat an injury? First of all, Chiropractors are not medical doctors and they do not prescribe medications. Chiropractors believe in hands on and alternative treatment instead of surgery. They believe that the body is able to heal on its own. For example, if mobility to a certain part of the body is observed, they will manipulate that particular part to regain mobility. A visit to a Chiropractor usually cost a lot lesser than a visit to an Orthopaedic doctor. Some chiropractors even make the first consultation complimentary. Not only that, you are also able to fix an appointment at an earlier date as compared to an appointment with an Orthopaedic doctor. However, multiple visits to Chiropractors are required to be able to see results and in the long term, it may cost more than a visit to the latter.

Orthopaedic doctors on the other hand are medical doctors. They specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of our musculoskeletal system. Many people have the idea that orthopaedic doctors are doctors who will recommend surgery for everything, from a torn meniscus to a dislocated bone. This is not true. Orthopaedic doctors will often only recommend surgery when all other available options are exhausted. If the injury can be treated with physical therapy, they will recommend that unless patients insist on surgery in the first place. Orthopaedic doctors will make use of medical technologies such as X-Rays and MRI scans to tell the patient what exactly is wrong with their body. They are also able to prescribe pain relief medications be it orally or via injections, something that Chiropractors are not able to.

Deciding on a visit either to a Chiropractor or an Orthopaedic doctor is purely the decision of the patient. As a patient, you need to know what type of injury you have suffered and make your decision based on that. Different people prefer different things and be sure to know what results you really want.

Sprained, Tears or Fractured?

Sports injuries are inevitable at some point in time of your life. After a hard training session or a game of your favourite sports, there will definitely be those post game aches and pain that you will suffer which are perfectly normal. In unwanted cases, you could have landed badly from a jump or fell awkwardly on your shoulders, resulting in a swollen ankle or shoulder. You try to self medicate but what injury is it exactly? Is it a sprain, muscle tear or a fracture? How do you differentiate them from one another?

Sprains

A sprain occurs when you stretch or partially tear the fibrous tissues or more commonly known as your ligaments. They occur mostly in places such as your ankles and wrists. Ligaments helps to connect the connective tissues from your bones to your joints. There are three degrees of sprains namely the first, second and third degree. Some signs of sprains include pain, bruising, tenderness, inflammation, swelling and immobility of the affected area. Sprains can usually heal on their own but more serious sprains may require surgery. Always see a doctor if the pain is excruciating or you suffer from numbness in the area which could imply something more serious.

Tears

Muscle tear or commonly known as muscle strain implies that you have torn a muscle or a tissue called tendons. They occur most commonly in places such as the hamstring which is located at the back of you thigh. Muscle tear can cause severe pain and inability to walk or carry out normal functions properly. They are commonly caused by over use of muscles, suddenly pulling of the affected tissues and cyclic cycles of muscles.

Fracture

Fractures are probably the most serious as compared to tears and sprains. A fracture implies that there is a broken or cracked bone involved. Fractures are extremely serious injuries and you must seek a doctor immediately. Common symptoms include difficulty in breathing, loss of mobility at the affected area, fingers or toes turning blue due to lack of blood flow and seeing a bone sticking through the skin. There are two types of fractures namely the acute and stress fractures. Simple acute fractures are caused by a sudden hard blow to the bone resulting in the bone breaking, causing injury only to the bone and not to the surrounding tissues. If you see a bone sticking through your skin, you have a compound acute fracture which will cause infection to the surrounding tissues and are much more serious. Stress fractures are normally from repeated stress on your affected area mainly caused by sports or gymnastics.

Now that you know what sports injury you are suffering from, you can do the necessary R.I.C.E actions and seek a doctor if you need to. There are so many different sports injuries and above are only three of them. Always consult a doctor if you are unsure as wrong self mediation can further aggravate the injury.