THE STRONGEST RISK FACTOR FOR INJURY
Do you know what’s the strongest risk factor that your youth athlete will suffer from a sports injury?
A PREVIOUS INJURY!
One study even showed that a history of a previous knee injury increased the risk of a future injury to the same knee by nearly 6 TIMES! That same study also found that a previous ankle injury increased the risk of an injury to that same ankle by almost 4 TIMES!
So why is that?
Well, there are a lot factors at play here. Some of which include a loss of strength in the injured limb, a potential muscle imbalance, or even a change in the way your youth athlete moves when they play due to previously being in pain. Or maybe even potential changes in their tissue quality as a result of having been injured.
In some cases just being in pain without any actual damage to the tissues can alter the way an athlete moves. And even after a full recovery from the pain or injury, these protective ways of moving can stick around.
But the real question is: What do we do about it?
Well as the old saying goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Meaning that it’s imperative to make sure that your athlete takes the necessary steps to keep injuries from occurring in the first place. This means ensuring proper physical preparation for the sport they play, well maintained and properly fitted equipment, and a proper training schedule among many other things. (For more on how to prevent overuse injuries check out our blog on that topic by clicking here!)
All this is all easier said than done, and in sports injuries happen to even the most well prepared athletes.
Arguably the most important thing is to make sure that when an injury does occur that your athlete has a complete recovery before returning to play. This doesn’t just mean that they no longer have pain or full range of motion, but that they are also physically ready to return to a high level of activity. That they aren’t going back to their sport with any issues in strength & conditioning or possible movement deficits that can predispose them to another injury.
This is by far one of the most common reasons I see athletes suffer from a re-injury. Many well-meaning therapists simply do not possess the skillset to properly prepare athletes for the demands of their sport. As a result many athletes are cleared to return to play without actually being prepared to do so!
It’s very important that the needs of the sport are taken into account during the rehabilitation process. There are PLENTY of ways to safely maintain or even IMPROVE your athlete’s physical preparedness while taking care of an injury. The last thing you want is the recovery process to turn into a period of what we call deconditioning. Meaning that during the rehab process their physical conditioning is actually declining due to inactivity. This could cause your athlete be even less prepared to return to play in the long run. (Stay tuned for a future blog specifically on this topic!)
If your athlete happens to have had a previous injury it’s important to understand the risks of an injury happening again. Being injured can have huge consequences on an athlete’s quality of life and mental well-being. While it is impossible to completely eliminate the chances of injury, there are many ways to help reduce the risks involved. A crucial part of this process is understanding what those risks are and having the proper support to act accordingly.
Need PERSONALIZED help??
If your child has a history of recurring injuries OR if you really want to do your best to make sure that they don’t have to suffer from an injury in the first place? Then reach out to us and we can help make sure your child has a safer and more successful athletic future.
CONTACT US to schedule a FREE DISCOVERY VISIT or FREE PHONE CONSULTATION so we can discuss your child’s unique situation and let you know what options are available to help them avoid sports injuries and enhance their athletic development!