10 Common Sports Injuries of Young Athletes and How to Treat Them

10 Common Sports Injuries of Young Athletes

10 Common Sports Injuries of Young Athletes
Each year, more than 2.6 million children ages 19 and under are treated for sports-related injuries, and some afflictions are more common than others.

Here’s a look at 10 common sports traumas for young athletes and how to treat them.

Concussions/Head Injuries
Nearly 40 percent of sports-related concussions affect children ages 8 to 13.

Common Sports
FootballTemporary loss of consciousness/confusionAvoid physical exertion and vigorous sports activities until you no longer have symptoms
HockeyAmnesiaParticipate in activities that require thinking and mental concentration (watching TV, texting, schoolwork, etc.)
Playground injuriesDizzinessFor headaches, take acetaminophen (Tylenol)
Snow skiingRinging in the earsTalk to a doctor
Delayed response

Contusions are bruises caused by damaged or broken blood vessels, and they are the second leading cause of sports injuries.

Common Sports
All contact sportsBluish discolorationIce on area on and off for 24 to 48 hours.
Pain and swellingRest and elevate affected area.
Skin may turn from red/blue /purple to green/yellow/brownFor pain, take acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Especially prevalent during the summer or training camps, dehydration can not only inhibit an athlete’s game, but also his or her life. Athletes that are most vulnerable are those that practice outdoors in hot conditions.

Common Sports
BicyclingChillsWater (but water alone is not safe for infants)
FootballDark-colored urineClear broths
RunningDizziness and fatigueJello-O
SoccerDry mouthPopsicles
TennisHeadachesReplacement fluids like Gatorade and Powerade

Osgood-Schlatter Disease
An aching pain below the kneecap may mean Osgood-Schlatter Disease, a common indicator of knee injury in teenagers, most often affecting boys between the ages of 13 and 14 and girls 11 and 12. It’s an overuse injury that commonly occurs during growth spurts.

Common Sports
BalletPain when running or jumpingAnti-inflammatory medication
BasketballUsually occurs in just one kneeIcing painful area
SoccerDiscomfort can last from weeks to monthsKnee pads

Patellar Femoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)
Even though it’s known as “runner’s knee,” Patellar Femoral Pain Syndrome can affect any athlete who does a lot of bending and footwork.

Common Sports
BasketballPain behind or around kneecapCompress, elevate, and ice knee
BicyclingPain when you bend (or walk, squat, kneel, run, or sit) or walk downstairs or hillsGet arch supports
RunningPopping or grinding in the kneeStretch exercises (if recommended by doctor)

Shin Splints
Repeated stress on bones and muscles in lower legs cause medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), also known as shin splints.

Common Sports
BasketballPain felt on inner edge of shinbone, between knee and ankleApply ice and compression bandages
RacquetballNumbness or weakness in feetElevate legs
SoccerSwelling on lower legTake acetaminophen
TennisTenderness or soreness along lower leg

A sprain is when a ligament is injured by being stretched or torn. Falling or twisting the wrong way can cause a sprain, which most often occurs in the ankle.

Common Sports
BasketballBruisingCompress, elevate, and ice area
FootballInability to move/use a jointRest injured area
GymnasticsPainTake acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Not to be confused with sprains, strains are injuries to muscles or tendons and most commonly occur in the back or in hamstrings (back of the thigh). However, like sprains, the treatment is quite similar.

Common Sports
FootballCrampingCompress, elevate, and ice area
GymnasticsMuscle spasms and weaknessRest injured area
HockeySwellingTake acetaminophen (Tylenol)
SoccerTrouble moving muscle

Turf Toe
The “Big Toe” is the big victim in this affliction, which includes a sprain to the ligaments surrounding the big toe joint. While this injury is most common in football players, many different types of athletes are vulnerable.

Common Sports
BasketballPain around big toeCompress, elevate, and ice area
FootballLimited joint movement around big toeImmobilize foot (optional)
GymnasticsSwelling around big toeRest injured area
WrestlingA "pop" can be felt at the time of injury

Tennis Elbow
Overuse of the arm, forearm, and hand muscles causes a condition known as “tennis elbow,” but you don’t have to be Serena Williams to develop it—it goes by other names, too, including “golfer’s elbow.” A variation is “Little League elbow,” which is a condition caused by repetitive throwing motions.

Common Sports
BaseballPain around the elbowApply ice
GolfStabilizing or moving wrist with force increases painRest
TennisTrouble shaking hands or squeezing objectsTake cortisone-type medication
Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen

The Bottom Line
While sports and exercise surely have their benefits, young athletes need to be careful in how they practice and recognize when they need to slow down or rest completely.