written by Maxi Schönteich
Through play and sport, our kids gain confidence, develop physical skills and learn the foundation for creating a healthy lifestyle.
As with all types of play, it’s possible that kids will injure themselves. This can sometimes hinder their progress and confidence. Natural therapy like osteopathy can support your kids as they recover from sports injuries, helping them return to their favourite activities sooner with confidence.
Common sports injuries for kids
The most common injuries include sprains, strains, fractures, growth plate injuries and overuse injuries. These injuries can affect different parts of the body, like the ankles, knees, wrists and shoulders.
Sports injuries can happen at any time, during practise, games, and even casual play. They’re often the result of sudden impact, falls, overexertion, repetitive motion, or inadequate warm up routines.
Some injuries may not manifest immediately, but may gradually develop over time due to repetitive stress.
Preventing sports injuries in children
Though accidents are always possible, there are some proactive measures you can take to ensure that your kids are as protected as possible during play or sport.
Stretching is key
Teaching your child the importance of warming up before physical activity can help encourage healthy sport habits early on. Dynamic stretching improves flexibility and prevents muscle strains or tears. Emphasising the significance of cooling down with static stretches also supports muscle recovery.
Promote good technique over results
Support your child in learning, rather than focusing on the outcome. Teach them that by paying attention to their technique they’ll build strength in the long-term. Practising with them and supporting their form can reduce risk of injury. Enrolling them in qualified coaching programs where they can receive guidance from qualified professionals can also help.
Ensure your child has the equipment necessary for sport- from helmets, to mouthguards, shin guards, knee pads or goggles. Properly fitted gear can reduce the likelihood of head injuries, dental damage, fractures or eye injuries.
Drinking plenty of water actually helps prevent injuries by preventing muscle fatigue. Hydration also helps boost performance. Ensure they always have a refillable water bottle during sport and encourage them to take water breaks.
Rest and recovery
It’s important for kids to rest – overtraining and overuse is a common cause of injuries in young athletes. Enough sleep and a balanced diet helps support muscle recovery and limits your child’s chances of injury.
Encourage your child to communicate pain, discomfort or unusual symptoms they experience during or after physical activity. Addressing potential injuries with immediacy can prevent them from worsening while improving the trust between you and your child.
Lead by example
Maintaining an active lifestyle and participating in sports, while practicing self-compassion and taking rest days can teach your child the supportive practises to develop a healthy relationships with physical activity.
Showing your child how to practise sports safely, with good sportsmanship can help them prioritise their health and wellbeing over competition.
Healing sports injuries with osteopathy
Osteopaths can help diagnose sports injuries and rehabilitate not only your child’s injury, but the strength of their surrounding joint, preventing re-injury and helping build their confidence.
Osteopaths can provide accurate diagnosis of musculoskeletal injuries in children (and adults). At IMI, we conduct a thorough investigation, considering your child’s medical history, physical examination and ordering imaging tests when necessary.
Osteopaths understand that one size will not fit all. The same condition may have differing origins based on the individual child’s body. Osteopaths can help determine cause to create a specialised treatment plan that will target any weak points to prevent re-injury. They can also suggest lifestyle recommendations, exercises and hands-on techniques to support recovery.
Using gentle techniques like joint mobilisation, myofascial release and massage, osteopaths help relieve your child’s pain. They can recommend the best pain management strategies for your recovery, like hot & cold therapy, over-the-counter medications and referrals for extra support if needed.
Strengthening exercises tailored to your child’s needs support their rehabilitation, bolstering injured muscles, improving flexibility, and restoring their range of motion. Not only does this help promote healing and prevent injury, but it also helps enhance their performance moving forwards.
Osteopaths focus on healing the issue at its source- sometimes that means arming you with injury prevention techniques, like warm-up and cool-down routines, correct posture and body mechanics, as well as education on rest and recovery.
At IMI, we work in a multidisciplinary team, collaborating with other practitioners to give you the best care. Our team of naturopaths acupuncturists and more can provide comprehensive support when suited to your child’s needs.
If you have an active child, then sports injuries will be unavoidable at some stage. Despite this, injuries shouldn’t hinder your child’s progress or enjoyment of their sport. With the help of osteopathy, children can recover from sports injuries effectively and safely.
Pain relief, correcting any underlying structural issues, and supporting better bodily function can all help build your child’s strength.
Prevention is crucial, so following the tips for parents can really help reduce your child’s risk of injury. But, if your child does take a tumble or injure themselves, we can help support their recovery so they return to what they love with confidence.