If you’ve ever sat on the sidelines watching your child play soccer, baseball, gymnastics, basketball or any number of other sports, and winced if they grabbed their knee or shoulder or ankle in pain, you’re not alone. The Aspen Institute reports that pre-COVID, nearly a third of kids ages 6-18 played their primary sport three days a week and all kids playing sports dedicated about 13.6 hours weekly to their chosen sport. That’s a lot of time running, jumping, throwing, sliding, tackling, swinging, stretching, and kicking – and lots of opportunities for injuries.
While youth sports injuries are common, this knowledge doesn’t make it easier to handle when your child is sidelined. The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that the most common types of sports injuries are Achilles tendon injuries, broken bones, dislocations, knee injuries, Little League elbow, which affects the growth plates in kids, runner’s knee, and sprains.
The good news is that most of these injuries can be prevented if imbalances in the body are caught soon enough and properly adjusted. And if your star athlete is already facing an injury, excellent Greenville chiropractic care can help lead him or her on a faster and more efficient road to recovery.
Why see a chiropractor if your kid doesn’t have any injuries?
The best time for Greenville chiropractic care is before an injury happens. The body is designed so all its parts work in harmony with one another, communicating quickly and efficiently through the nervous and skeletal systems. If something isn’t where it’s supposed to be, then that system is going to be hindered.
For example, what if your child walks with their toes pointed inwards? That means their hips are not in alignment and their knees are not where they are designed to be. This puts pressure on their lower legs and ankles where pressure should not be. If your child starts playing soccer in this scenario, their muscles and ligaments try to make up for that misalignment in their hips, which affects movement in their lower body. Muscles that should be directed to keeping knees and ankles strong aren’t doing so because they aren’t in the right place due to the imbalance of the hips. All it will take is one game where your child tears their meniscus in one of their knees and is out for the season. Physical therapy may help in recovery or your orthopedic may recommend surgery, but the unsung hero is often your Greenville chiropractor. You see, portions of the meniscus receive low blood flow and therefore take additional time to heal. Surgical repairs often cause more damage to the meniscus, potentially even to the portion receiving low blood flow, causing the patient to have almost the exact same healing journey without surgery.
That’s a nightmare scenario that many parents face in one form or another. Yet, it very well could have been prevented with chiropractic care. If your child would have been brought in for an exam, Greenville Spine Institute would have been able to see that your child’s feet were turned in and develop a treatment plan to fix it, giving your child a better chance at playing their chosen sport injury-free.
This holds true for so many different kinds of injuries. As kids grow and develop, their bones shift, as do their growth plates. Greenville chiropractic care can greatly benefit kids as they move through this development and become stronger, better athletes. And it’s all non-invasive, with no drugs.
Preventative chiropractic care is important
Taking steps to ensure your student athlete’s body is aligned and functioning correctly and efficiently to avoid injuries is crucial for success. But it’s not only about preventing injuries in an athlete – the benefits to continuous chiropractic care for athletes are numerous and include better performance, quicker recovery, reduced pain, greater range of motion, and whole body wellness.
Kids are starting sports young, like ages four or five, and sometimes will choose their favorite and pursue it competitively by middle school. By that time, their bodies have already taken a beating all while continuing to grow and develop. There are a lot of opportunities for mishaps. The American Journal of Sports Medicine found that teenagers who specialized (played it more often and at higher intensity levels) in a sport had a greater risk of injury, up to 50% more than their peers who competed at lower levels. Most common injuries were those to the ankles, knees, upper legs, and ligament strains, which line up to the most common sports injuries presented by the American Academy of Family Physicians mentioned above.
About 25% of Major League Baseball pitchers have had the Tommy John surgery to repair ligaments in their throwing arm. “The Arm”, a book about injuries to baseball players, found that 56.8% of the Tommy John surgeries between 2007-2011 took place on teenagers. The author surmised that this was because travel teams and competitive baseball are pushing kids way too hard at young ages. While chiropractic care won’t solve all injuries and problems of kids playing sports competitively at younger ages, it can help to avoid some of these more problematic injuries for athletes.
During my time with the Carolina Panthers, I saw a host of injuries to players, many of which were caused by not addressing the root issues of previous injuries. If a child begins treatment with a chiropractor when they start playing sports, there is a greater chance the chiropractor will pick up on changes to the body sooner and make the proper adjustments to ensure peak performance and continued wellness for the athlete, especially if they go on to specialize in one or more sports.
For athletes who have not had an injury, I’ll often recommend specialized strengthening exercises for those muscular and skeletal systems that will be under the most pressure. It’s one of the many ways we use preventative treatment, without drugs or invasive procedures, for our athletes.
If injury strikes
If injury does strike a child who is already seeing a chiropractor, treatment will help aid in a quicker recovery. At the Greenville Spine Institute, we do a thorough physical, orthopedic, and neurologic intake exam with motion x-rays and movement tests to assess the current condition of the body and if there are issues that need to be addressed. If an injury occurs, we can use these same methods and tests to quickly assess the injury and begin treatment to heal the patient.
We have a therapy bay on site with equipment needed for stretching and icing, which all help aid the body in a quicker recovery, no matter their age.
Of course, we prefer to see patients before an injury happens but if that is not possible, chiropractic care can still be extraordinarily effective in helping athletes heal quicker and get back on the field, court, or whatever arena their chosen sport is played.
Want to see what we can offer your star athlete? Come on in for a consultation and we’ll do an assessment, talk about your – and your kid’s goals, and figure out a plan to help your athlete the best they can be in their favorite sport.