Regardless if you are a child or adult, if you are doing a physically active sport, you are eventually going to get injured. The problem is when this happens and you go see a doctor, you are treated like a “non-athletic” person, and typically given a statement of, “don’t do things that hurt it, avoid physical activity for 2 weeks and setup another appointment if it still hurts.” The problem is if you are a competitive athlete, this will cost you weeks if not months of training not to mention how much regression can occur due to the time off.
That doesn’t consider the mental anguish put on the athlete or their parents during this time, making them question what if the sport they are in is worth it or they are getting the right training or if where they are doing the training is correct. The truth is, the longer the injury is prolonged, the worse it is for everyone and the more doubt is put in everyone’s head. It is far better to speed up the diagnosis and healing process for all purposes. This may be seem costly up front, but when there is a true injury, dealing with it correctly right away will save money as well.
Ways to speed up the whole process:
- Finding a physician or clinic that has the following:
- Will treat the person like an athlete with the goal to get them back into the sport as quickly as possible. This is not going to be the normal family doctor.
- A facility that has access to both an Xray and MRI on site and are not afraid to refer you to them.
- Xrays – are great for looking at bones but do not help looking at soft tissue injuries. This is when you know there was a cause for the injury like a crash or fall.
- MRI – are great for looking at soft tissue injuries or pain related to soft tissue, examples include: hips, knees, shoulders, lower back, etc.
- Has Physical Therapy on staff to help with any additional follow up or if there is an injury to teach you “how” to use the crutches or boot
- Suggested method for setting up appointments to speed up the process:
- Setup initial appointment at a place that can do Xray & MRI to save 1-3 weeks.
- At that appointment, setup follow up appointment – do not “wait and see”. Cancel it if not needed. This can save you 2 weeks to get in.
- When to seek non-traditional methods instead of a physician: injury is not a broken bone or obvious tendon/ligament tear.
- Using non-traditional methods:
- Massage Therapy can also be huge in injury prevention and pain prevention. Many times, when the muscles get sore or knotted up, they pull on another part of the body, slowly creating pain there and moving onto the next part of the body. While foam rolling can reduce the amount of times needing a massage, depending on the sport or the intensity the athlete has on their workouts – that may not be enough.
- Chiropractic is HUGE for reducing pain for kids and adults as the skeletal system gets unaligned.
- There are two main types: manual adjustment or activator which uses an instrument to apply pressure to adjust.
- Times I see this needed the most: falls or crashes that jar the body, during growth spurts, as girls bodies change from hormones & from general tightness when they use their muscles.
- Being pro-active to prevent or reduce injuries
- Wrist Guards for sports like Gymnastics. Understand there are different types of wrist guards and the best ones out there provide support while forcing the muscles to be used. The guidelines of when to use or implement these will vary on gym but the best brand is EZY Wrap because of how they are designed.
- Ankle Braces for 8-12 weeks following a roll or sprain. Even after it is feeling better, the athlete will be at a higher chance of injury until the tendon’s strength, which takes 8-12 weeks. Important aspect of ankle braces: it MUST have side supports to prevent rolling (plastic or metal), lace up tends to provide more support but is not appropriate for all ages. I have spent months researching and looking for appropriately sized ones for kids and the best brand to work with is Mueller. If this is a common issue within your sport, I would suggest your facility reaching out to them and setting up a retail account so they can order in pediatric sized braces to keep in stock. If not, this is where to order online.
- Foot or heel pain is common during growing or overuse unless there is an injury. The best way to treat this is physical therapy exercises as well as bracing the arch. The most cost-effective way to not spend a ton on tape is to purchase an XBrace and some paper take to help secure it in the back from falling off. These can be ordered online.
- Working in injury prevention
- Theraband work for: shoulders, hips, ankles, knees.
- Wobble boards for: ankles, shoulders, knees, core stability.
- Soft tissue work with: foam rollers, lacross balls or pvc pipes.
- Teaching athletes to listen to their body and learn what are good and bad pains.
- Coaching staff being educated on ways to address minor issues to prevent them from turning into major issues.
- Monitory pain and tracking it daily with athletes. Not allowing an injury to go unchecked for more then 3 practices. If it isn’t improving after 2-3 practices, it should be looked at.
Who Kids First Recommends
- Physicians Clinic that meets the needs:
- Sports Medicine Clinic of U of I
- 2701 Praire Meadow Drive, Iowa City IA 52242
- Phone: 319 384-7070
- Massage Therapy that works well with kids and is knowledgeable:
- Anthony Rock at Virtue Salon & Spa, specializes in PNF Stretching and highly recommends doing them before the massage to increase mobility and effectiveness of the massage. Great with children and up. He expects a parent to stay in the room when working with kids. 319-400-6600 or [email protected]
- Kristen Sindelar,has education in cupping, Thai, Himalayan Hot Stone, PNM training, Neuromuscular Technique and Craniosacral, all beyond your typical massages. 319-350-7070 or www.vagaro.com/bodyshopmassagetherapy
- Chiropractic that works with kids and is knowledgeable:
- Zmoos Chiropractic, Dr Mathew Zmoos and Dr. Ethan Zmoos are very medically knowledgeable and have a very detailed understanding of how bodies relate to athletic needs. They are very experienced with all age groups. 319-395-9598
- Dr Carmen Clemenson at Clemenson Chiropractic, specializes in activator techniques over traditional manual manipulation. Great way to get over the fear of chiropractors and some believe it is better than manual manipulation. Additionally, she does acupuncture. 319-377-1043