Healthy, active children love to run, jump and play, and of course, exercise promotes good health. Injuries do happen, though, no matter how hard parents try to protect their youngsters.
While everyday bumps, bruises and scrapes are common, sometimes an accident such as a fall causes something more serious. An injury to a child’s upper limb (shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist, hand) or lower limb (hip, knee, lower leg, ankle, foot), is fairly common.
Dr. Shevaun Doyle, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at the Lerner Children’s Pavilion at HSS, offers the following tips if a child gets hurt:
Dr. Doyle says signs of a serious injury that warrant a visit to a doctor or emergency room include:
Each year more than 3.5 million children ages 14 and under are treated for sports related injuries, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The increasing popularity of team sports at a young age may be contributing to an increase in injuries, says Dr. David Scher, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at the Lerner Children’s Pavilion at HSS.
He says it’s important for sports injuries to be promptly evaluated and treated. A severe injury may not only end a young athlete’s career, but can cause ongoing pain and disability. Minor injuries should also be assessed so they can be managed quickly and do not progress to more severe injuries.
He says it’s important for parents to bring an injured athlete to the emergency room if any of the following symptoms are present:
To prevent injury, Dr. Scher says young athletes should stop playing a sport if they experience excessive fatigue, pain, swelling, or have a recurring injury. Since young people tend to get caught up in the excitement of their sport, parents and coaches should pull the player out of the game if they notice he or she is lagging or showing signs of possible injury.
Dr. Scher adds that adequate conditioning, sports-specific training, proper warm-up and stretching, a nutritious diet, sufficient hydration while playing, adequate rest and an educated coaching staff can help keep kids safe on the field.
Pediatric orthopedic surgeons at Hospital for Special Surgery specialize in treating children with muscle, bone and joint injuries. The HSS Pediatric Fracture and Injury Hotline (1-877-HSS-1KID or 1-877-477-1543) is available 24 hours a day. A pediatric orthopedic surgeon and other staff members are available to provide care in the event a child or teen has a serious injury.