As proud as you are of your child’s bravery on the playground or playing field, a part of you still frets over the potential for injury. It’s only natural to be concerned about sprains, strains, accident injuries, and overuse injuries in active kids. The good news is that neither you nor your child is completely helpless against these lurking threats. Consider these smart preventative strategies for preventing play and sports injuries — and then ask our physical therapist to help you implement them.
Prepare Your Child Through Physical Therapy
A strong, agile body is a must for preventing sports or play injuries. If your child has an obvious muscle weakness or other functional limitation, physical therapy can help minimize that obstacle to improve athletic safety and performance. Our physical therapy team can evaluate your child’s balance, coordination, stance, gait, muscle strength, and range of motion for any issues that might need improvement. Specific physical therapy exercises can then be prescribed to straighten those issues out before your child takes the field.
Make Sure Your Child Plays Safely
Even physically fit kids can run into trouble if they ignore best practices for safe play. If your child plays a sport that requires any kind of protective gear, invest in that gear, make sure it fits properly, and see to it that your child knows how to wear that gear safely. Even casual playground time can prove dangerous if your child is defeated by dangling shoelaces or other common dangers. Educate your child on the need to check such details before playing.
Playing with the proper sports technique is another important consideration. For example, the wrong bat, racket, or golf club technique can quickly lead to shoulder strains, elbow tendonitis, back pain, and other problems that might send your child to a physical therapy clinic. If your child needs more schooling than the school coach can offer, see about engaging a private coach to instill the proper technique.
Insist on Proper Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs
Kids always seem to be in a hurry to leap into activities — and just as eager to leap away from those activities when they’re done with them. But as any physical therapist can tell you, engaging in athletics without warming up first can promote soft tissue injuries. A bit of jogging or some gentle stretches might be all that’s needed to prevent these problems. But it’s equally important for your child to perform some cool-down stretches after the activity, which helps the tissues recover from their workout.
Teach Your Child About Common Sports or Play Injuries
Kids who resolve to “play through the pain” or who fail to recognize common injury symptoms put themselves at risk for even greater physical damage. It’s critical that your child knows how to identify a probably sprain, strain, fracture or other injury in time to stop playing immediately and seek help. Teach your child that staying in the game to prove “toughness” could lead to being benched (either literally or figuratively) with painful, serious, possibly even long-term complications.
Don’t Neglect Diet and Nutrition
Young athletes need to eat a balanced diet consisting of healthy, natural foods instead of highly-processed junk food and sugary soda. Proper hydration, including a balance of water and electrolytes, is also critical for sports. Our physical therapist can offer valuable advice on the subject.
Learn More at Our Physical Therapy Center
If your child is ready for action, Oceanside Therapy Group in Oceanside, CA, is ready to help him stay safe and healthy. Talk to one of our licensed physical therapists today!