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Treating and preventing common sports injuries

Looking to be more active in 2014? Have you been waiting all year to enjoy winter sports such as skiing or snowboarding?

There are a few common injuries that often get my patients down when they are on the go. Below are a few tips and tricks to help you prevent these common injuries and determine the best treatment options should you need it.

Sprains/Fractures
The most common injuries in the wrist and ankle are sprains and fractures. Throwing, twisting, weight-bearing, and impact can put you at risk for a wrist injury. Ankle sprains and fractures are typically caused by making a fast, shifting movement with your foot planted on the ground.

In most cases, I recommend the RICE approach: rest for around 48 hours; ice the injured area to reduce swelling (use a pack wrapped in a towel); compress with an elastic ACE wrap; and elevate the injury above heart level.

However, if you experience these symptoms, contact your provider for further evaluation.   
  • Pain at the time of injury
  • Swelling
  • Bruising or discoloration
  • Difficulty moving the wrist or ankle
  • A “popping” or tearing sensation during the trauma
  • Warmth and tenderness of the skin
More serious injuries will likely be treated with a splint, boot or cast. The healing process can take up to six weeks. Surgery may also be required.

ACL Tears
The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is one of the major ligaments in your knee that helps with stabilization when turning or planting. ACL injuries take place during cutting or pivoting movements. The hallmark of a torn ACL is a distinct popping noise and your knee may give out. The  ...

Organized sports activities: safety and benefits

A lot of children are now enrolled in organized sports activities, and more and more children are starting at a younger age. Children are enticed by successful professional sports players and strive to be like them. Many parents enroll their children in organized sports activities with the hope that their child would get an athletic scholarship for college and go on to become a professional player. However, parents must realize that only a few children end up becoming successful professional players.

It is important for children to be physically active, and organized sports can be a part of this healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown that children and adolescents who are physically active do well academically in school, have greater self-esteem, sleep well and have less behavioral/emotional problems. Children and adolescents who are active every day tend to develop less health problems like hypertension, obesity and hyperlipidemia , and grow to become healthy adults.

Here are some important ideas to keep in mind when your child is enrolled in organized sports activity:

Where to Receive the Right Level of Medical Care

 When you are ill or injured, where should you go to receive the right level of medical care?

Head Injuries in Kids: when do they need to get checked out?

We all know toddlers have big heads. It’s no secret. I always used to get a good laugh from my kids as they were just learning to walk. As they leaned over, once the head started to fall, the body was sure to follow. Since I was a medical student and resident when my kids were that age, watching them weeble and wobble around the room provided hours of inexpensive entertainment in between studying for my board exams. But unfortunately, sometimes those falls result in more significant head injuries, with skull fractures, bleeding in the brain, and concussions.

The challenge for us as parents is determining when our children have sustained a “significant” head injury that we need to take them to see the doctor or when we can just observe them at home. For this reason parents often rush their kids to the ER after even a seemingly minor bump to the head.

Avoiding Emergencies

Accidents happen. Life is unpredictable. Kids sometimes get sick. If you are a parent, chances are you may have already experienced a visit to an Emergency Department. And though a trip to the doctor is often unavoidable, there are many things parents can do to avoid unwanted injuries and illnesses.

  1. It is all fun and games until someone dislocates an elbow.

    We have all been tempted to lift or swing our children by their hands or wrists. They love it and squeal for more. But, be cautious. You don’t want to be among the countless miserable, guilt-ridden parents who come into the ER with a crying toddler that won’t move their arm following such fun and games. Commonly known at “Nursemaid’s Elbow”, it is a dislocation that occurs at the elbow in toddlers and young children who are lifted by their hands, wrists, or distal forearms. It also commonly occurs when an adult is holding the hand of an active toddler and the adult jerks back on the arm of the child. Luckily, there is an easy fix and no permanent harm done. In fact, it can be fixed within a matter of moments using a simple relocation procedure. Within minutes, our little patients are scrambling around the room as if nothing ever happened.
  2. Be careful going down the slide with your child.

    Summer is on the way and it is time to go to the playground with your little ones. We want to teach our kids all about the joys of velocity, so we carry them up the slide, plop them in between our legs, and away we go. But wait! This can be a dangerous choice because if a child’s leg gets twisted on the way down the slide it can result in a broken bone. Four to six weeks with your toddler in a leg cast is the perfect way to spoil your summer plans. All that is required for this injury to occur is for your child to catch their rubber-soled shoe on the slide, or for the fabric from their pants to get caught underneath an adult’s leg. Then one hundred-plus pounds of adult jettisons the child down the slide and produces just enough torque to snap a little bone. A better choice is to let your kids go down by themselves when they are ready. Or, if you feel the need to take them down the slide, make certain that their legs (and arms for that matter) are securely on top of your lap and not in direct contact with the slide.
  3. Absolutely NO running with anything in the mouth.

    No food. No pencils. No toys. Nada. Enough said!
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