Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/8/2021 (282 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Spring is here and that means kids are ready and excited to get outside and get moving!
After months of lock downs, sports and activities have been or are finding new and creative ways to safely resume. Although this is great news for the health and fitness of our youth, the joy of trading winter boots for flip flops or soccer cleats can quickly be dampened by soreness or injuries. As a gymnastics coach and physiotherapist who works solely with gymnasts, I am aware that injuries and problems can arise with active and athletic kids. As physiotherapists, we have the tools to get them back to their athletics as quickly as possible.
Let us help before injuries arise!
For example, if baseball season is right around the corner and your child has lots of pitches and swings in their future, a physiotherapist can help ensure their body is ready for this. We are experts in movement and strength/flexibility assessments and can identify potential areas of weakness or trouble before they develop into an injury. We can design a custom exercise plan to help prepare your child for the demands associated with their sport or activity.
Injuries do happen, even with kids.
Many injuries in kids are of the acute nature, but they can develop chronic injuries as well. An acute injury is one that has a sudden onset and often occurs because of one specific event. Think of a rolled ankle or a fall off a bike. These events can lead to various types of injuries (ligament sprains, contusions, fractures, etc). Luckily kids are quite resilient and have much more favorable recovery times than would be the case with their parents or grandparents. Physiotherapists like to assess these acute injuries to ensure smooth recovery and to make sure they don’t become problematic or a source of a chronic injury at a later date.
Chronic injuries are often due to overuse of a part of the body over time. They are more common in children than you would think, especially during periods of growth. They are often just different than the type of chronic injury you would see in adults. Growth plates are thin cartilage discs at the end of long bones in children and adolescents. Bone growth and lengthening occurs at these growth plates. Once physical maturity has been reached these growth plates fuse to form solid bone. However, during our growing years these growth plates can be a common site of pain or injury themselves. The other frequent issue with growth is that bones typically grow first which can cause pulling and tightening of nearby muscles and tendons that don’t tend to lengthen as quickly. The repetitive movements often seen during sports can lead to pain and swelling in the areas where these muscles and tendons attach to the growth plates on bones. We most often see this in the heel and knee but it can also occur in the shoulder and elbow especially in throwing sports.
Whatever the injury might be, we have tools to help enhance the recovery and return to play.
Rest is often advised to allow these areas to settle and heal but rest for an injury does not have to mean stopping all aspects of sport or exercise. After a thorough assessment a physiotherapist can provide guidance on the appropriate amount of rest and what exercises or amount of activity can be performed safely while the injured area is still recovering. Keeping other areas moving and strong is the best way to ensure the child can get back to sport or activity as quickly and safely as possible.
Athlete, Physio & Coach.
When it is time and your child is ready to return to their sport after an injury, with the parents’ permission, physiotherapists are happy to provide advice and guidance to the athlete’s coach. Clear communication between the athlete, physiotherapist and coach can be the perfect recipe for a smooth and successful return to play.
Enjoy the fun and activity that warmer weather can bring and remember that physiotherapists are here to help kids keep moving!
Brooke Merrifield is a physiotherapist and Athlete Development Director at Springers Gymnastics and solely treats the competitive gymnasts at the club. You can find Brooke and many other great physiotherapists in the "Find a Physiotherapist" section of our website at www.mbphysio.org
This article is produced by the Advertising Department of the Winnipeg Free Press, in collaboration with Manitoba Physiotherapy Association