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Physiotherapy for Kids in Sport

There are many conditions where physiotherapy is beneficial for kids/children. There are various conditions that are quite common in children and a lot of them occur in a sports environment. Popular active summer sports include cricket, athletics, tennis, basketball, swimming, rowing and other water sports. While children do tend to heal quicker than adults, any injury still needs to be managed properly to ensure a full recovery and reduced chance of recurrence. With Melbourne coming out of lockdown and sports starting up again, it’s a good time to consider injury management and prevention.

Basketball is a sport with high participation rate in Melbourne. While a game doesn’t tend to go for extended periods the sheer quantity of games, summer tournaments and trainings can pose an increased risk of injury. Common injuries include sprains and strains of the ankle, foot and lower leg and knee, along with a condition known as “apophysitis”. This occurs where a tendon attaches to a bone and with repetitive stress, especially with impact, can cause the bone to become inflamed and painful. Common examples of these injuries in children include Sever’s and Osgood-Schlatter’s, occurring at the achilles and patella tendons respectively. Prevention of these injuries is important as they can be slow to settle and recover, even with proper physiotherapy treatment.

Cricket injuries are also a common presentation during summer in Melbourne. Other than the traumatic injuries which occur from landing awkwardly, overloading is a common cause of injuries. Bowling is an obvious activity which causes stress on the body and is often what leads to overloading in kids and adolescents. It is important to manage bowling loads in younger bodies and Cricket Australia has published some guidelines to follow to reduce the likelihood of injury in bowlers.

As mentioned earlier, ankle sprains and other lower leg injuries from landing awkwardly are very common in most sports. Early intervention will help speed up recovery by reducing swelling and inflammation. Most will follow the Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation protocol and find it helps settle the injury quickly. However, if swelling persists there are options including medication. Once the acute stage has settled, restoring range of movement and strength influences optimal function so children can resume sport. Once players have returned to activities, ensuring a proper warm up along with injury prevention exercises help reduce risk of recurrence.

Enjoy your return to sport, but be mindful not to go too hard too soon and ending up with a preventable injury. If you need any further advice, assessment or management please contact us at Fairfield Physiotherapy.