Everyone hates seeing an athlete get injured. That feeling is heightened when the athlete is a child. In order to combat injuries in young athletes, parents and coaches need education on how to help prevent injuries. One of the most devastating types of injuries is a knee injury. Let’s start with a few tips on how we can help our kids avoid this type of injury.
Kids jump right into whatever sport or activity is going on. The rapid acceleration from rest to game speed requires the muscles to work very hard without properly warming up. Parents and coaches need to make sure the kids warm-up and explain why it’s necessary. Encourage players to keep their muscles stretched out and warm on the sidelines, too. This will make sure they’re ready to play when called on.
Use exercises during warm-ups and training that help kids build the muscles around their knees. Lunges, step ups, and squats can be done for the upper leg muscles and don’t require extra equipment. Hopping and running in place is good for the calf muscles as long as the exercise is done properly with knees bent. If the legs are straight during these, then you could be injuring the knee with these exercises. Remember to explain to the kids how this helps and why you are doing the exercise. They may not actually be able to feel the benefits, so they need to be made aware of them so they will remember to do the exercises in the future as well.
Don’t let kids overwork their knees. Even though they might feel pretty good, their muscles do need to rest. Make the kids take a day off after a game, mix up their routines so there are a few days with less running of legwork, and never let them participate when they are complaining of any type of knee pain. Kids bodies are still developing and not allowing proper rest time can be damaging to knees even if there is little to no pain at the time.
Child athletes love playing their sports and they’ll play at all times and at all costs. So it’s important for parents and coaches to guide them so they do not injure themselves. Teaching about knee health and installing the proper routines and attitudes will go a long way towards keeping these kids from suffering a terrible knee injury.
Please contact us for more advice and insight into preventing knee injuries.