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Young baseball player at bat

Sports Injuries: Kids Need Specialized Care

By: Nicole Lloyd, PT, DPT, ATC

Stress fractures. Overuse injuries. Concussions.

These are just a few of the medical reasons why parents turn to CHKD’s sports medicine program when their young athlete needs care.

Research shows – and experts agree – that kids benefit from specialized healthcare when it comes to treating sports injuries and navigating a successful recovery. In fact, even if your teenage son towers over you, or your daughter has ditched her bike to drive a car, older teens are still growing and developing. They’re still children. And their development sets them up for a variety of injuries and patterns of healing adults do not experience.

At least half of all sports injuries among children are considered overuse injuries. The way these injuries need to be treated differs from adults as well.

As many parents know, children often have growth plate injuries. A child’s growth plate is the weakest part of the bone because of its immature bony and soft tissue. This type of injury usually occurs at the end a bone where growth takes place.

Young athletes are also susceptible to injuries where a tendon connects to a bone. Osgood-Schlatter’s disease, Sever’s disease, Sinding-Larsen-Johannsson syndrome, and Little Leaguer’s Elbow are all types of tendon injuries. Researchers believe they happen after repetitive use without adequate rest.

Here are some of the top ways CHKD’s specialized care helps children recover from sports injuries:

  • Proper diagnosis: Working with a medical provider who specializes in pediatric sports medicine helps ensure a proper diagnosis. It’s easy to misdiagnose overuse and growth plate injuries if you are not accustomed to working with children daily. What may seem like a rotator cuff strain could be an overuse injury to a child’s growth plate in the upper arm. Likewise, what may seem like an ankle sprain in an adult can be a growth plate fracture in a child.
  • Expert treatment: Knowing the right way to treat a child’s injury is just as important as having a proper diagnosis. While many adults can seek physical therapy immediately for certain injuries, children may need to wait. Growth plate injuries should heal before starting physical therapy.

Years ago, CHKD recognized the need to create a specific sports medicine program for young adults. Today, this program includes pediatric orthopedic surgeons, primary care sports medicine physicians, athletic trainers, physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, exercise specialists, and a sports nutritionist. We also work in conjunction with CHKD’s mental health program when an athlete needs support during the stress of recovery.

The mission of CHKD’s sports medicine program is provide the best possible care for active youth throughout our region. For further information on programs and services, or to schedule an appointment, visit our website or call 757-668-PLAY (7529).

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About CHKD Sports Medicine

About CHKD Sports Medicine  CHKD's sports medicine program offers the most comprehensive care for your young athlete. From diagnosis and treatment to customized rehabilitation plans, we specialize in physical therapy and injury prevention programs for active children and teens. Our team is composed of pediatric orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists, physician assistants, certified athletic trainers and pediatric sports medicine physical therapists.