High School Sports And The Dangers Of Overuse Injuries

When you think about high school sports injuries, what first comes to mind is probably acute injuries: landing wrong during a gymnastics dismount or an awkward collision during a basketball game. But if you have a son or daughter playing high school sports, it's important not to overlook the possibility of overuse injuries—or how to minimize your child's risk of sustaining one.

What Causes Overuse Injuries?

The obvious answer, of course, is "overuse"—but what does that mean? Generally speaking, overuse injuries occur when the body doesn't have enough time to heal between periods of activity. It can affect muscles, bones, ligaments, and even growth plates in younger athletes.

Stress fractures are a good example of an overuse injury. The bones of athletes, especially bones in the lower leg, ankle, and foot, undergo a lot of stress during practice and competition. The bones in the body are constantly regrowing, but if bone material is breaking down faster than new material can grow, you end up with bone loss and more fragile bones. This weakness makes these bones prone to stress fractures.

How Can Overuse Injuries Be Prevented?

There are three main ways to reduce the risk of overuse injuries: avoid excessive and repetitive training, mix up sports participation so that your child isn't doing the same thing over and over, and take one calendar season off from sports each year; according to a study in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, participating in year-round sports increased the risk of overuse injuries by 42% for high school athletes.

When it comes to sports training and drills, taking time to rest each week is important. But in addition, try to vary up the types of training done. If your child prefers to do the same drills day after day, talk to their coach about suggestions for varying their routine. They may suggest increasing overall fitness with activities like cross-training or give your child a larger number of more specialized drills to cycle through.

What If You Suspect An Overuse Injury?

Depending on the type of injury, symptoms can vary; generally speaking, aches and pains in response to training or competing should not be considered a "normal" part of sports and should be checked out by an orthopedic doctor. When problems are caught early, changing up the training regimen or taking time off with physical therapy are often effective at preventing future problems.

Overuse injuries that aren't treated early will only magnify over time, resulting in your son or daughter needing to take an extended break from playing sports. In severe cases, overuse injury can lead to bone fractures that may require surgery to correct. For more information, visit sites like http://www.towncenterorthopaedics.com.