During summer in Florida, many children who are not attending school or summer camp spend countless hours outside, playing and participating in sports. This means that there are a number of common injuries to minors and children that take place during this time. Sports injuries, such as sprains, are very common at this time of year. Parents should know what to do to prevent and treat such sports-related injuries.
A sprain, one of the more common playground and sport related injuries, is an injury which tears or stretches a ligament. The ligament is the tissue that connects bones at a joint. Many things can cause this type of injury. Car accidents, getting hit with a ball, slip and fall accidents, twisting a limb, all can cause the ligaments around the joint to tear or stretch. In many cases, sprains are to the ankles, wrists, and thumbs, although any ligaments can be affected.
Your child may have a sprain if they display the following symptoms: bruising, pain, swelling, and inability to move to the joint. A sprain can be severe, moderate, or mild. In some cases, the injured party may feel a tear or pop when the injury occurs.
Another injury common to minors and children playing sports is a strain. This type of injury occurs when the tissue that connects muscle to bone is torn or stretched. Again, this injury is often caused by falling, twisting, and other similar accidents. However, strains can also occur when muscles are overtaxed, through heavy lifting and other strenuous activity. The signs and symptoms of a strained include muscle spasms, muscle weakness, cramping, swelling, stiffness in the muscle, and pain.
In both cases parents should take their children in to see a doctor in order to evaluate the injury. Even relatively minor sports injuries should be investigated, since they may require doctor supervision in order to heal properly. Doctors often recommend that for strains and sprains, the injured area should be rested. Ice may be recommended on the injury for of 20 minutes at a time, 4 to 8 times a day. Some entries require special bandages casts, splints, boots, or other items in order to squeeze the injury and allow the muscle or ligament to heal properly. Your physician may also recommend medicine in order to ease the pain.
Doctors recommend that in order to avoid sports related injuries to minors and children, parents should ensure that children only exercise when they’re in good physical shape and well rested. Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and maintaining a well-balanced diet also ensures that muscles, bones, and ligaments are strong and healthy. Proper shoes, protective equipment, and a play area that is flat and well-maintained can also help reduce injuries. Warm-ups after sports and cool-down periods after physical activity can also prevent unnecessary strain on ligaments and muscles, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).