Sports is a very important activity for children. Keeping children on the move with any sports activity help maintain body weight, increase muscle and bone strength, improve confidence and keeps the child well rested after activities. The only downside with kids getting into sports is of course the possibility of getting injured.
It is estimated that about 2.6 million children are brought to the emergency department per year for treatment involving sports injuries. Common injuries are sprains and strains, fractures, but worrisome injuries involve the growth plate because it can affect the growth of the child.
Strain and Sprains
When muscles are overstretched and cause partial tears this called a strain. Sprains on the other hand are more serious and could involve tearing of the ligaments. Ligaments are connective tissues that connect two or more bones to a joint. Sprains are much more painful than strains and takes longer to heal.
The RICE Method
Whether you have a strain or sprain injury, your physician will typically recommend the RICE method.
Rest. Injuries heal better if allowed to rest. Lay off the injured body part for at least 3 days to prevent further injuries.
Ice. Cold stimuli works very well on areas with swelling and inflammation. Use ice packs on the injured site for 20 minutes at a time until the swelling dissipates.
Compression. Use an elastic bandage to immobilize the injured area to further hasten healing.
Elevation. Elevating the injured body part above the heart helps reduce pain and swelling. Pooling of blood or bodily fluids can be a major part of swelling and inflammation and elevating the area can help pull back these fluids back into the circulation.
Growth Plate injuries
The growth plate or epiphyseal plate is the area of growing bone tissue found at the near end of each long bone in children. By adolescence the growth plate slowly transforms into solid bone. Growth plate injuries commonly occur after a fall or repetitive use of a body part.
Depending on the injury, the physician may recommend an x-ray to determine if a cast or splint is needed. On severe cases surgery may be needed if the growth plate is fractured or shattered and fragments are out of place. Fortunately, most growth plate injuries can be treated with rest.
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