New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer is reminding young athletes who are hitting the playing fields this fall that aches and pains might signal an undiagnosed sports injury. And “playing through the pain” could make an undetected injury even worse.
Often the initial aches and pains felt during the progression of an injury are overlooked by young athletes. And it’s essential to teach them about the importance of informing a coach or parent about pain, because an undiagnosed injury can become more severe in the long run.
Football, soccer, volleyball and cheerleading are some popular fall sports among kids aged 5 to 18. Taking some precautions can help keep kids safe on the field or on the court. In addition to not ignoring pain, your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon urges young people to follow these safety tips:
Don’t skip the warm-up or cool-down. Before and after practice, it’s important to do some low-impact exercises such as walking or biking.
Add strength training and stretching. For stretching to be safe and effective, hold the pose for 10 to 12 seconds and do not push your body beyond the point of resistance.
Stay hydrated. This is key to minimizing muscle cramps. If you feel thirsty, you’ve waited too long to drink fluids.
Consider your surface. Be sure you are not playing on an unsafe surface that is not in good condition.
Check your equipment. It’s important to wear all necessary and recommended protective athletic gear, such as cleats, pads, a helmet and a mouth guard. Be sure all of your gear fits properly.
Be flexible. If possible, play more than one position or try new sports during the off-season. This will help prevent overuse injuries.
Consider the weather. Rain or snow could lead to wet and slippery turf that can increase the risk for injuries. Be aware of how the weather has affected conditions on the playing field.
Listen to your body. Avoid overtraining. If you develop any pain or discomfort, reduce the duration and intensity of your workout to avoid injury or burnout.
If you have any questions regarding your child’s sporting activities, call the office of New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer today to schedule an appointment.