By: Piedmont Orthopaedic Complex // MDS Musings
Each day, a variety of different student athletes are treated in Piedmont Ortho’s Walk-In Training Room. The most common type of injuries we see across the board are known as overuse injuries, a trend that has become even more prevalent in recent years.
The amount of overuse injuries in the country is growing as it is becoming more common for young athletes to focus on a single sport, sometimes even playing that sport year-round. The National Association of Athletic Trainers (NATA) recommends students avoid specialization at a young age and participate in a variety of different sports and physical activity throughout the year. Students should limit training in one sport to no more than 5 days a week with at least one day off. Athletes should also take time off from each sport for two to three months every year to allow the body to recoup and for the athlete to focus on general strength and conditioning. Symptoms tend to be gradual in most overuse injuries, so student athletes will often go untreated for a long period of time.
Acute overuse injuries, which are also quite common, develop more quickly and can be caused by several different factors. Acute overuse injuries often stem from:
- Improper techniques. Whether your child is pitcher or a long jumper, improper mechanics can lead to too much stress on muscles and eventually to an overuse injury.
- Rapid ramp up. It is important to gradually work up to a difficult exercise or training routine to avoid overstressing your muscles.
- Muscle imbalances. Muscle weakness and imbalance can throw off your child’s alignment and technique, thus opening them to injury. Encourage them to incorporate general strength conditioning into their routine to maintain balance.
Studies show that kids who play sports and are physically active are not only happier and healthier, they also go on to outperform others in their professional lives. Fortunately, most sports-related injuries are predictable and preventable. We encourage you to share this information with your student athlete to help promote a healthy, active and injury-free school year.