Prevent Pediatric Sports Injuries With ESPT

As summer ends and we get ready to embark on another school year, that means student-athletes will be starting practice with competitions soon to follow. Depending on off-season conditioning, the coach’s awareness of injury prevention, and the athlete’s own physical development, some of these students will end up with aches and pains, while others will be able to avoid them altogether.

“What’s most disappointing is the majority of these injuries are totally preventable,” says Jacon C. Chun, MPT, SCS, ATC, CSCS, Director of Physical Therapy at Elite Sports Physical Therapy (ESPT). “Simple preventative measures such as adequate rest, hydration, flexibility, strength, and support, could mean the difference between sitting on the bench to recover or staying healthy and playing regularly in competitions.”

ESPT is better equipped than any other clinic in Fremont to address the issues these young athletes face. With the only Board Certified Sports Clinical Specialist in the city leading the clinical team, you can be sure that each treatment program will be individualized for the injured athlete’s particular sport and needs.

One key in treating young athletes is to remember that children are not little adults. Things that you can use in designing programs for grown-ups, need to be modified when you are dealing with an immature musculoskeletal system. “The last thing we want to do is cause more harm, when we are trying to do good,” say Chun.

Another reason ESPT is more appropriately suited for these young athletes, is the fact that they can offer the most 1-on-1 Physical Therapist time in Fremont. With children, we can’t expect them to have the same attention span as adults. So most children cannot be left alone to perform exercises. They need proper supervision and instruction at all times. This will allow for greater adherence to to proper technique and successful completion of each and every treatment session. This practice model is why we will afford the greatest opportunity for success when working with young athletes.

Combine our clinical expertise and first-class service with some of the newest, cutting-edge equipment and it’s not hard to see why ESPT should be your first choice for an Outpatient Physical Therapy clinic in Fremont. Not just for young athletes, but for patients of all ages.

For more information about our services and how we can help you get rid of pain and get back in the game, contact us at 510.656.3777 or check us out at www.espt-ca.com.

Pediatric Overuse Injuries Part 2- Let The Kid Be A Kid

As I mentioned in my previous post, overuse injuries in athletic children are increasing at an alarming rate. Most of this is due to lack of cross-training/multi-sport participation and is the result of sport specialization at a younger age. The consequence of this specialization is undue stress to an immature musculoskeletal system, resulting in overuse injuries.

So, other than having children play 2,3, or 4 different sports, how do we prevent these types of injuries? The first step is recognition. As mentioned in the last post, if your child or a child you coach is having pain in one of the following areas, they may benefit from a visit with an orthopedist: heels, shins, knees, hips, back, elbows, or shoulders. (Feel free to contact us at ESPT if you would like a referral to a local orthopedic physician).

Once you have identified a painful area that is not resolving, you can follow the RICES principle:

Rest- In children, most of their painful areas will resolve with appropriate rest. Since most of the symptoms in children are the result of stress to immature bones (growth planes), appropriate time for these areas to mature will often alleviate the pain. There are also taping techniques and assistive devices that can be used to take stress of these painful sites. A sports physical therapist with experience treating athletes can help you find the right equipment for your child.

Ice – Try icing the painful area for 15 minutes with an ice pack. You can use a ziploc bag with ice and a little water or a commercial gel pack. Be sure to place a wet towel between the ice and skin to prevent any irritation to underlying tissue. This can be repeated several times a day to minimize swelling and symptoms at the painful site.

Compression – As mentioned earlier, compression garments and equipment like braces/straps/tape can be used to help decrease symptoms. Check with you physical therapist or doctor for more details.

Elevation – Try to elevate the painful site above the heart to assist with carrying swelling away from that area.

Stretch – Release tension and muscle imbalances that could be putting stress to the immature bony sites and causing pain. A physical therapist that understands the sport requirements for your young athlete and the biomechanics of the specific recreational activity involved, will be able to design a program tailored to each individual’s needs. No one is more qualified to do this than our therapists at ESPT. With experience treating athletes in 34 sports from lacrosse to water polo, synchronized swimming to football, no other clinic in Fremont can provide you a more complete sports and orthopedic evaluation to allow your child to return to the activities they love.

If your child’s symptoms are not relieved with the RICES principles, it is highly recommended that you follow-up with your pediatrician or with an orthopedist for further medical evaluation. Early detection can help address issues while they are still manageable and help prevent progression to a condition that would require mandatory rest.

The bottom line is that it’s important to keep kids healthy, to allow them to have positive developmental associations and pleasure with sports. This will allow kids to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle. It will allow kids to just be kids. And it may even allow some kids to emerge into the stars of tomorrow.

Pediatric Overuse Injuries- Too Much Of A Good Thing?

I remember in high school when we voted someone most athletic, they usually were good at more than one sport. It may have been a guy that played football, then basketball, then baseball. Or a girl that played soccer, then ran track. That, however, is becoming less common today and specialization is becoming the norm.

Kids are becoming dedicated to a particular sport at a younger age. They focus themselves year-round on trying to be the best. They go from their high school team to the club team. They hope for a possible college scholarship and perhaps a professional career.

Along with year-round preparation and practice though, there are consequences- an alarming increase in overuse injuries. In the 2005-2006 school year, more than 1.4 million injuries were sustained by high school athletes. Most of these, could have been prevented with proper education and timely treatment.

The important thing to realize is that children are not little adults. Coaches need to be educated in the effects of overtraining on an immature musculoskeletal system. What worked for them and what is tradition, is not always in the best interest of the young athlete. With the evolution of science and medicine, training methods also need to evolve.

If you bend a piece of metal repetitively, it will eventually break at its weakest link. And that is what happens with an immature musculoskeletal system. Where adults can get tendinitis, strains, or ruptures at their weakest links, children can get traction apophysitis injuries. These are irritations to the growth plates because children have bones that are not completely fused. Injuries at these vulnerable sites produce inflammation, pain, and can stimulate bone growth.

Common sites for these types of injuries are: heels, shins, knees, hips, elbows, and shoulders. If your athletic child is experiencing pain in any of these areas, the best thing to do is set up an appointment with your physician to have them evaluated, so the proper course of treatment can be recommended. (I’ll talk a little more about treatments in my next blog). And remember, just because a physical therapist says they treat sports injuries, doesn’t mean they have direct experience in a sports setting. At ESPT, our director is the only Board Certified Sports Clinical Specialist in the area. (Check us out at Elite Sports Physical Therapy).

The bottom line is that kids aren’t immune to injuries and they are in fact becoming more common. Increased awareness by the athletes, parents, and coaches can aid with earlier detection and prevention. And this in turn will allow kids to continue playing the sports they love and to continue just being kids.

What is a Sports Clinical Specialist?

Almost every physical therapy owner in private practice will say they provide sports physical therapy. But the truth is that most of these owners haven’t really seen “true” sports PT. They’ve probably gone from outpatient clinic to outpatient clinic since graduation, seeing a few weekend warriors or high school athletes along the way, and say they are thus qualified to provide sports physical therapy or sports rehabilitation. I think this is why some physical therapists and athletic trainers clash. They each feel that the other is not qualified to perform some of the duties unique to each profession.

Just as there are many areas of medicine that one can specialize in (neurology, cardiology, nephrology, orthopedics, dermatology, etc.), the American Physical Therapy Association has established 7 specialty areas that physical therapists can be board certified in. Only 10% of the physical therapists in the U.S. are Board Certified in a specialty, which requires demonstrated experience in the specialty field and a passing score on an extensive written exam. This allows the Board Certified Specialist to display that they have a greater breadth of knowledge and skills in a particular area of practice than their peers. This includes sports rehabilitation.

So next time you are looking for someone with true knowledge in sports physical therapy, you want someone Board Certified as a Sports Clinical Specialist. These specialists must be certified athletic trainers or EMT’s, and must have completed at least 2,000 hours working directly with athletes. They know the biomechanics of sport, exercise physiology, and sports medicine. And they know how to get you back in the game!!!

For an article about treating athletes with quotes from our director, please see: http://news.todayinpt.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080526/TODAYINPT0105/80523019
For more about what sets Elite Sports Physical Therapy apart from our competitors, please visit our website at: www.espt-ca.com.