Wednesday, 22 of November of 2017

Category » Injury Prevention

Keep Seniors Safe By Preventing Falls

 

 

As an orthopedic specialist, I am concerned about the prevalence of falls among seniors. Falls are a leading cause of injury and disability for people age 65 and older. Seniors are especially at risk for fracturing their hip, as well as pelvis, shoulder, arm or spine. If the injury is serious enough, surgery may be required, which could require a lengthy recovery time and sometimes, loss of independence.

What causes such a high rate of falls among seniors? Medical factors such as arthritis, osteoporosis, irregular heartbeat and fluctuating blood pressure, as well as dementia, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, vision and hearing loss and urinary dysfunction are often to blame.

But lack of exercise from a sedentary lifestyle is also a factor. Weak muscles, loss of balance and poor condition all contribute to the risk for falling. The key is to stay physically active with regular exercise you enjoy.

Other concerns include side effects from medications, such as dizziness and lethargy. Ask your doctor to periodically review all medications you may be taking, including over-the-counter drugs and herbal remedies.

It’s also a good to look around your home and see if there are potential hazards that can be easily corrected. Here are several tips from the Lee County Injury Prevention Coalition’s Step Wise Lee program to make your home safer.

  • Get rid of small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep rugs stationary and eliminate the chance of slipping on them.
  • Clear all papers, books, clothes and shoes from hallways and stairs.
  • Fix all loose or uneven floors, particularly tile so you don’t trip.
  • Rearrange furniture so you have a clear pathway through halls and rooms.
  • Improve the lighting with brighter wattage light bulbs. Put night-lights in every room.
  • Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the tub or shower. Use non-slip bath mats in the tub or shower
  • Rearrange cabinets so items you use frequently are easy to reach, eliminating the need to use a step stool or chair.
  • Organize lamp, telephone and computer cords and other electrical wires so you don’t have to step over or around them.
  • Wear shoes in the house and outside – avoid going barefoot or wearing slippers.
  • If your home is more than one level, be sure to have handrails or banisters on all staircases.
  • Consider an alarm device that will call for help if you fall and can’t get up.

Dr. John Kagan has been treating orthopedic-related injuries for more than 30 years. For more information or to schedule a consultation, go to www.kaganortho.com or call 239-936-6778.


Don’t Let Your Golf Swing Limit Your Game: Tips For Avoiding Common Golf-Related Injuries

 

 

shutterstock_3009221It’s not a surprise that golfing is one of the most popular sports in Southwest Florida. Top quality courses designed by all the pros, ranging from Arnold Palmer to Tom Fazio, are easy to find and enjoyable to play.

Most people think of golf as a relatively low-impact sport. But a variety of factors can contribute to shoulder and rotator cuff pain, low back pain, and injuries to the hand, wrist and elbow.

According to the American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine, one of the best steps you can take to reduce your risk of injury is to warm up slowly before stepping up to the tee. It’s also critical to follow proper body mechanics and learn good technique.  In addition, participating in regular exercise off the course can help you build core strength and keep muscles and joints more flexible.

The most injury prone aspect of golf is related to the swing and how you grip the club.  Avoid swing-related injuries with these suggestions from the Mayo Clinic.

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, don’t strain your neck or back by hunching over the ball and distribute your weight equally on both feet.

Make sure your swing is smooth, easy and relaxed; don’t over-swing by trying to hit the ball too hard or too fast. Duffs, or hitting the ground during the swing, along with over-swinging and twisting the spine during the swing are very common – and a major reason for muscle and joint pain in the shoulders and back.

Shoulder and back injuries can also be related to lifting clubs out of the car, or carrying your bag improperly. Remember to use good body mechanics when lifting and carrying anything, including golf clubs.

Prevent grip injuries to the hand, wrist and elbow by selecting the correct club length and using a neutral rather than tight grip. Elbow pain is often related to overuse – don’t overdo it and strain the ligaments and joints. Like any sport, don’t play through pain or play too many days in a row without rest.

Minor aches and pains can be treated with cold or heat and topical creams, as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.  If you have ongoing problems, consider taking lessons from a golf pro. But if you have serious muscle or joint pain, get an evaluation by an orthopedic specialist. For more information, go to www.kaganortho.com or call 239-936-6778.


What Every Parent Should Know About Youth Sports Injuries

 

 

 

Children playing soccerSports can be a great experience for children and teens, teaching them teamwork, discipline, confidence and leadership skills. Being physically active helps build strong muscles and bones, but the increasing number of youth getting injured is a serious problem.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports that more than 3.5 million children under the age of 15 received treatment for a sports-related injury. What’s going on? Children are playing at a higher level of intensity and at younger ages than in previous generations. There’s more focus on performance and competition, kids are playing in multiple leagues and the pressure for college scholarships can be daunting.

From an orthopedic surgeon’s perspective, that’s a concern because children’s bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments are still growing. They are more susceptible to injury. As the AAOS points out, “what might be a bruise or sprain in an adult, could be a potentially serious growth plant injury in a young athlete.”

In addition to overuse injuries, such as the classic “Little League” elbow, orthopedic specialists are seeing an increase in more serious problems, including ACL injuries, meniscal tears, stress fractures and similar conditions. Some teens are even undergoing surgery for sports-injuries. That is alarming.

While we support and encourage youth sports, we want parents to be aware of certain precautions that will make the game safer for kids.

Here are several important guidelines to follow, as recommended by the AAOS:

  • Make sure the coach is qualified to supervise the sport, abides by the rules and has your child’s best interest in mind
  • Kids should have access to and know how to use the right safety equipment for the sport
  • Don’t let your child play when he or she is very tired or in pain
  • Make sure your child is in proper condition and has adequate time to warm up before playing
  • Allow injuries to heal completely before returning your child to the game
  • Limit the intensity and frequently of training and games
  • Do not allow your child or teen to use steroids to boost their athletic performance

For more information about orthopedic conditions and treatment, go to www.kaganortho.com/learn-more.


Spring Fitness Training Tips

 

 

It’s no surprise that Florida has been the destination for Major League Baseball’s spring training for the past 125 years. Florida’s warm, sunny climate allows the professional ball players to get in shape, stretch their muscles, increase their flexibility and build their stamina before for the start of the regular baseball season.

Here in Southwest Florida, its easy to catch a spring training game. Fort Myers is host to the Red Sox and Minnesota Twins, while Port Charlotte hosts the Rays and Sarasota welcomes the Baltimore Orioles.

But getting in shape is not just for the pros. Take a tip from the athletes and consider stepping up your own level of fitness this spring. Move a little, live longer. Take advantage of recreational activities and exercise outdoors before it gets too hot here in Southwest Florida.

Before you begin, here are a few tips from the experts, including the American Academy of Orthopedic Specialists, to help you avoid injury while you condition your muscles and joints.

Start Slowly: If you haven’t exercised all winter, give your body time to adjust. Some fitness experts suggest that several 10-minute exercise sessions a day can be just as effective as a hard 30-minute workout.  Monitor your level of exertion and don’t overdo it at first.  A good rule of thumb is to increase your training by 10 percent each week – this includes the time of your workout, the amount of weight you lift or the miles you run.

Cross train: Vary your exercise or sports activities so you’re not overusing the same muscles, tendons and joints every day, which can lead to injury. A schedule that includes a variety of activities, such as running, weight training, tennis, bicycling and swimming, as well as stretching and flexibility training with yoga or Pilates will be better for your body.

Don’t train through pain: Minor aches may be normal as your build your level of fitness, but pain is a signal that you’re overdoing it or using improper technique, both of which can lead to injury. For minor pain, take over-the-counter anti-inflammation medication, get some rest and ice the area of discomfort. For more serious pain, see a medical professional.

Stay hydrated: Florida’s warm weather and sunshine may be a benefit, but you can easily become dehydrated in the heat. Drink plenty of fluids before and after exercising. Protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB radiation by applying sunscreen and wearing a hat.

Exercise is important to maintaining healthy strong bones and muscles at any age.  But if you haven’t exercised in years, you might want to schedule an exam with your physician first.  And remember, even parking the car further away from the store, taking the dog around the block, climbing the stairs rather than taking an elevator, or strolling along our beautiful beaches is a step in the right direction.

Dr. John Kagan has been providing orthopedic care to the greater Fort Myers community for more than 30 years and has extensive experience in sports medicine.  He and his partners have been team physicians for the Minnesota Twins Baseball Team during spring training for many years.  For more information go to www.kaganortho.com.


Sprains & Strains

Whether you’re a teen playing high school sports, an adult who is an avid runner or a senior who plays weekly doubles tennis, chances are that at some point, you’ll experience the discomfort of an occasional sprain and strain – the most common injury sustained in sports today, reports the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

Many people think of sprains and strains as the same injury. They’re similar, but distinct. Here’s the difference.

A sprain occurs when you overstretch or tear a ligament. For example, step awkwardly off the curb and land on the side of your feet and chances are you’ll sprain your ankle. Jump down from break wall at the beach onto a sidewalk and you can twist and sprain your knee. Or try to break your fall by stretching out your arm and chances are you’ll sprain your wrist or shoulder.

When you sprain something, it means that you’ve injured one or more ligaments, the fibrous band of connective tissue that connects the bones and stabilizes the joint. Overstretching or tearing a ligament puts pressure on the joint and can force it out of alignment.

A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon. Just like ligaments connect the bones, the tendons connect the muscles to the bones. Overstretching or the opposite, contracting a muscle or tendon, can cause injury. Chronic overuse and repetitive movement, perhaps caused by intensive training, can set up a repetitive injury cycle.

Who’s at risk for sprains and strains?

Just about everyone, but especially athletes. RICE or rest, ice, compression and elevation are typically the first line of defense prescribed by the physician. Anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medication can also help reduce swelling and decrease discomfort.

But a severe sprain or strain may require medical treatment. If the pain and swelling continue after initial treatment with RICE, call your doctor. You may need X-rays, more intensive treatment or even physical therapy to help strengthen and rebuild the injured tissues.

Prevention Tips

It’s not always possible to prevent a sprain or strain if you’ve an avid athlete. But NIAMS (The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease) offers these prevention tips: 1. Wear appropriate shoes for the sport and make sure they fit well. 2. Warm up and stretch before intensive exercise. 3. Run on flat surfaces. 4. Stop exercising when you’re tired or in pain.

Want to know more about orthopedic-related injuries? Go to www.kaganortho.com/learn-more.


Back Safety For The Holidays: Travel, Tree Trimming and More

Tis the holiday season and time to reflect on the many blessings in our lives and to enjoy the company of friends and family. But it’s also the time of year when we’re busier than ever and often feeling stressed, which can show up as tense shoulders, neck and back pain. Add to that all the lifting, pulling, pushing and twisting we do to clean and decorate the house, set up the tree and put up the outdoor lights. It’s easy to hurt yourself or aggravate old injuries.

For many people, the holidays also mean traveling by airplane to visit to family and friends. And improperly lifting or carrying heavy suitcases and carry-on bags can literally be a real pain in the neck. Even if you’re not traveling, heavy shopping bags full of presents can put a strain on your back, shoulders and neck, too.

Here are some holiday safety tips from the American Orthopedic Association:

Choose the right luggage. Two smaller bags are easier on your back than one heavy one – and make sure you are using a lightweight suitcase with a handle, one you can pull behind you, not carry.

Lift properly. Bend your knees and lift using your leg muscles, being careful not to twist your spine. Never stretch and reach for anything heavy – that’s a sure way to hurt your back. Carry heavy suitcases or shopping bags close to your body for better balance and carry the bags in both hands, rather than on just one side. The same applies to backpacks. Carry a backpack over both shoulders rather than slinging it onto one shoulder only.

Be careful of overhead compartments. Lifting your luggage into an airplane’s overhead compartment can be a challenge, especially if you don’t have a lot of upper body strength. Don’t lift your bag straight up into the compartment. Instead, lift luggage onto the top of the seat. Then place both hands on either side of the suitcase and lift up. If your luggage has wheels, put the side with wheels in first; then push the bag to the back of the compartment.

Ask for help and avoid rushing. If your suitcase is heavy or awkward, ask a flight attendant for assistance. It’s not worth attempting it yourself and making your holiday miserable because of neck or back strain.

Dr. John Kagan and his staff wish all of their patients and their families a safe and happy holiday. For more information about orthopedic-related medical conditions, go to www.kaganortho.com/learn-more.


When Elbow Pain Disrupts Your Game

If you’re an avid golfer or tennis player, the repetitive motion of swinging a club or hitting the ball can wreak havoc on the elbow, causing pain and tenderness, as well as decreased grip strength. Certain occupations that involve painting, sawing wood, pounding a hammer or turning a wrench can also put you at risk for elbow-related problems. Children and teens can develop overuse injuries, too, especially if they are active on a Little League softball team.

What happens to the tissues during an overuse injury? The muscles, tendons and ligaments in the upper and lower arm that attach the bones to the elbow joint become inflamed. Over time, microscopic tears can develop, causing muscle weakness.

Treatment Options

For people who love sports, giving up their favorite recreational activity for even a short time doesn’t sound like much fun. But it is never a good idea to play through the pain, especially for children. Resting the elbow, icing it and taking over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication can help relieve discomfort and give the muscles time to heal.

But if elbow pain and tenderness continue, affecting your ability to get back in the game, it’s best to schedule a physical exam with your physician. Medical evaluation can prevent the injury from getting worse and becoming a chronic problem.

Most overuse injuries can be treated by a combination of nonsurgical treatment options. Wearing a brace on the forearm can reduce tension on the muscles. Physical therapy may be prescribed. Physical therapists may use ultrasound, massage and other muscle-stimulating techniques to promote healing, as well as recommend specific exercises to strengthen the muscles.

When Surgery is Required

Although it is not common, it is possible to partially or completely tear the biceps tendon, the tendon that attaches the muscle in the upper arm bone in the elbow joint. Usually this type of tear is caused by a sudden trauma to the body or lifting something extremely heavy.

A popping sound usually signals the tendon has ruptured and there will be severe pain, swelling, bruising and muscle weakness. Be sure to have an injury of this severity seen quickly to avoid doing more damage to the tissue. Once the biceps tendon is torn, it will not grow back to the bone and you may have permanent weakness in the arm if it is left untreated.

If surgery is indicated, the physician will reattach the biceps tendon to the forearm bone using stitches or small metal implants. You can expect the arm to take two to three months to heal completely. The vast majority of patients can expect a complete recovery with a return to full range of motion.

For more information about sports-related injuries and other orthopedic conditions, go to www.kaganortho.com.


Steps to Better Bones

Although the fragility of bones increases as we get older, there are things you can do to help prevent injury.  Below are three steps that Dr. John Kagan recommends to help your body maintain optimal bone density and health.

  1. Get your recommended value of Calcium and Vitamin D – Calcium is essential to maintain strong bones and teeth, however, your body does not produce calcium naturally. Instead, calcium must be absorbed from your dietary intake. There are many sources of calcium; green leafy vegetables, milk and other dairy products, salmon, almonds, tofu and any food products fortified with calcium. Vitamin D is important for bone health because it aids the body in absorbing calcium. To get your daily requirement of vitamin D, just step outside in the sun and take a 10-15 minute walk each day.
  2. Know your body – If you have had fractures in the past, you’re more likely to have them in the future. Be aware of your body’s limitations and pain threshold.
  3. Exercise – It’s crucial to maintain an exercise regime at any age. To maximize bone health, try weight bearing exercises like running, walking or yoga.

Always consult an orthopaedic specialist before taking any medications, vitamin supplements or beginning an exercise regime for an orthopaedic ailment. For a thorough evaluation of your bone health, or for more information in ways to maintain healthy bones, call 239-936-6778 or visit www.Kaganortho.com or http://www.leecountyinjuryprevention.org/Pages/default.aspx.


Stay Active as you Age

As we grow older we tend to become less active. This is often a slow process that leaves us overweight and out of shape before we know it. How can we stop this process? The first step toward a more active, healthy lifestyle is exercise. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers the following advice:

Why is Exercise Important?

A safe, effective exercise program can help reduce some of the aches and pains that are a part of getting older. It can also slow down the progression of conditions associated with aging. For example:

  • Keeping active helps you maintain your ability to walk, which is especially important to maintain your independence.
  • Exercise can improve and maintain balance and posture, reducing your risk of falling.
  • Exercise can improve your strength, endurance and flexibility. It promotes bone strength. Repeated mild stress on our bones helps them maintain their calcium content and structure.
  • Exercise also helps to maintain muscle mass and tone. After age 30 we start losing muscle mass. Exercise stimulates muscle growth and slows this process. Muscle also uses more calories than fat tissue. As we increase or maintain our muscle mass we create a better ‘metabolic machine’ for burning calories.
  • Exercise is also important for joint health. Repetitive motion promotes the body’s natural process of lubricating joint surfaces. This may help lessen joint stiffness and achiness.
  • The stronger your muscles are, the more weight and stress they can handle. Stronger muscles protect your joints. As we age our joints begin to gradually weaken from typical wear and tear. Stronger muscles take weight and stress away from your joints.

 An effective exercise program is made up of several components: aerobic conditioning, flexibility and agility exercises, strength training, and relaxation techniques. Before starting an exercise program be sure to talk with your doctor, especially if you have a heart problem or history of heart disease.

Aerobic Conditioning improves the health of your heart and lungs. It also helps to manage your weight. With aerobic exercise, you move continuously to increase your heart rate and keep it elevated for a sustained period of time. How long you can exercise aerobically will depend on your fitness level. A general guideline is to work up to 20 to 30 minutes a day, three to four days a week.

 Choose activities that you enjoy and can do regularly. Common aerobic activities include walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, low-impact aerobic classes, water exercise classes and dancing. Many people prefer using machines, such as a rowing machine, stair climber, treadmill, elliptical trainer, or stationary bicycle. All forms of dancing — ballroom, social, country western — are another great way to get moving!

If you have arthritis, consider low- to no-impact activities such as water aerobics, swimming, elliptical trainer, Nordic track, stationary bicycle, or rowing machine.

Flexibility and Agility Exercises are important for increasing your body’s range of motion. They also help lessen muscle tension and soreness, and reduce your risk of injury. We often overlook stretching and range of motion exercises, but they are very important in maintaining overall fitness.

Stretching programs and activities like yoga or tai chi are good examples of flexibility and agility training. Balance training is important and may help prevent falls and, therefore, fall-related fractures.

Tai chi is a program of exercises, breathing, and movements based on ancient Chinese practices. Seniors who practice tai chi or yoga have fewer falls and less fear of falling. These classes can also increase self-confidence and improve body balance.

Strength Training improves muscular capacity and bone density. Stronger muscles and bones make it easier to do everyday activities like carry shopping bags or do yard work.

The most common strength training methods are working with free weights, resistance rubber bands or weight machines. It is very important to avoid strength imbalances by working all the major muscle groups, including the muscles in your arms, chest, back, stomach, hips, and legs.

If you have osteoporosis or loss of bone calcium, you will need to talk with a doctor before beginning a strength training program.

Relaxation techniques are important to include in your overall fitness program. Relaxation helps maintain overall cardiac fitness, lower blood pressure, and may even improve your immune system.

Many yoga classes include relaxation techniques like deep (diaphragmatic) breathing and simple meditation. Relaxation techniques can be as simple as sitting with your eyes closed and concentrating on controlled deep breathing.

Exercise Safely

  • Use common sense and don’t exercise when you have a cough, fever, cold or flu. But don’t let a temporary illness put a permanent stop to your exercising. Resume your activities as soon as you can.
  • After an illness, start your exercise program at the beginning again. Do not immediately take up where you left off. Your body needs time to recover and rebuild. Consult a physician even if your illness is minor.
  • Be alert to air quality if you work out at a gymnasium, especially if you have a lung condition such as asthma or bronchitis. Exercise at less-crowded times during the cold and flu season. Exercise outdoors whenever weather permits.
  • If you live near an enclosed shopping mall, consider becoming a mall walker. Many malls open before the stores do and allow people to walk around. This allows you to exercise even if the weather is bad.

 If you are experiencing joint pain or want to learn more about your joint and bone health, contact my office at 239-936-6778 or visit www.kaganortho.com. Leave a comment and let us know how you like to exercise and stay fit!


Back-to-School Bone News

This time of year, kids are practicing or engaging in sports activities in extreme heat conditions. Parents, coaches and educators need to make sure that children are properly hydrated and that they participate in proper warm-up exercises to make sure their bodies are conditioned for the sport.

Sports activities are more than play. Participation in athletics improves physical fitness, coordination, and self-discipline, and gives children valuable opportunities to learn teamwork.

Below is some helpful information from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:

 

Children are Still Growing

Young athletes are not merely small adults. Their bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments are still growing. This makes them more susceptible to injury.

Growth Plate Injuries

Growth plates are the areas of developing cartilage where bone growth occurs in children. The growth plates are weaker than the nearby ligaments and tendons. What is often a bruise or sprain in an adult can be a potentially serious growth plate injury in a young athlete.

Children Vary in Size and Maturity

Young athletes of the same age can differ greatly in size and physical maturity. Some youngsters may be physically less mature than their peers and may try to perform at levels for which they are not ready.

Parents and athletic coaches should try to group youngsters according to skill level and size, not chronological age, particularly during contact sports. If this is not practical, they should modify the sport to accommodate the needs of children with varying skill levels.

Types of Injuries

 Injuries among young athletes fall into two basic categories: acute injuries and overuse injuries. Both types include injuries to the soft tissues (muscles and ligaments) and bones.

Acute Injuries

Acute injuries are caused by a sudden trauma. Common acute injuries among young athletes include contusions (bruises), sprains (a partial or complete tear of a ligament), strains (a partial or complete tear of a muscle or tendon), and fractures.

Overuse Injuries

Not all injuries are caused by a single, sudden twist, fall, or collision. A series of small injuries to an immature body can cause minor fractures, minimal muscle tears, or progressive bone deformities, known as overuse injuries.

As an example of an overuse injury is “Little League Elbow.” This is the term used to describe a group of common overuse injuries in young throwers involved in many sports, not just baseball. Other common overuse injuries can tear the tendons in heels and knees.

Contact Sports Injuries

Contact sports have inherent dangers that put young athletes at special risk for severe injuries. Even with rigorous training and proper safety equipment, children are at risk for severe injuries to the neck, spinal cord, and growth plates. Following the rules of the game and using proper equipment can decrease these risks.

 Diagnosis

Children and teens often experience some discomfort with athletic activity. Their bones and muscles are growing, and their level of physical activity may increase with a sudden, intense interest in sports, so some aches and pains can be expected. Still, their complaints always deserve careful attention. Some injuries, if left untreated, can cause permanent damage and interfere with proper physical growth.

Whether an injury is acute or due to overuse, a child who develops a symptom that persists or that affects his or her athletic performance should be examined by an orthopaedic surgeon. A child should never be allowed or expected to “work through the pain.”

Signs that warrant a visit to an orthopaedic surgeon include:

  • Inability to play following an acute or sudden injury
  • Decreased ability to play because of chronic or long-term complications following an injury
  • Visible deformity of the athlete’s arms or legs
  • Severe pain from acute injuries which prevent the use of an arm or leg

 Treatment

Prompt treatment can often prevent a minor injury from becoming worse or causing permanent damage.

During the evaluation, the orthopaedic surgeon will inquire as to how the injury occurred and will examine the child. If necessary, the doctor may perform X-rays or other tests, to evaluate the bones and soft tissues.

The basic treatment for many simple injuries is often “R.I.C.E.,” or Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

Treatment for a child with any significant injury will usually involve specific recommendations for temporary or permanent adjustment in athletic activity. Depending on the injury’s severity, treatment may range from simple observation with minor changes in athletic level to a recommendation that the athletic activity be discontinued.

Some combination of physical therapy, strengthening exercises, and bracing may also be prescribed.

A basic component of any treatment plan is the orthopaedic surgeon’s ongoing assessment of the child’s physical condition until signs of healing and reduction of symptoms occur.

Successful treatment requires cooperation and open communication among the patient, parents, coaches, and doctors.

Guidelines for Preventing Sports Injuries

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, Canadian Orthopaedic Association, and American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine designed Play It Safe! to help parents, coaches, and children prevent sports injuries.

 Principles

Play It Safe! encourages children to:

  • Be in proper physical condition to play a sport
  • Know and abide by the rules of the sport
  • Wear appropriate protective gear (for example, shin guards for soccer, a hard-shell helmet when facing a baseball pitcher, a helmet and body padding for ice hockey)
  • Know how to use athletic equipment (for example, correctly adjusting the bindings on snow skis)
  • Always warm up before playing
  • Avoid playing when very tired or in pain

Proper Training

Young athletes need proper training for sports. They should be encouraged to train for the sport rather than expecting the sport itself to get them into shape. Many injuries can be prevented if youths follow a regular conditioning program with incorporated exercises designed specifically for their chosen sport.

A well-structured, closely supervised weight-training regimen may modestly help youngsters prepare for athletic activities. Young athletes should have their coaches help them design a conditioning program suited to their needs.

Qualified Coaching

Parents should make sure their child’s coaches have the appropriate qualifications to supervise a particular sport, provide well-maintained safety equipment, and help with proper conditioning for that sport.

 Do Not Use Steroids

An estimated 500,000 young athletes, boys and girls, use black-market anabolic steroids to improve their athletic performance. Steroids have been shown to increase muscle mass, but they can cause serious and potentially life-threatening complications and should be avoided.

Make It Fun

Youth sports should always be fun. The “win at all costs” attitude of many parents, coaches, professional athletes, and peers can lead to injuries. A young athlete striving to meet the unrealistic expectations of others may ignore the warning signs of injury and continue to play with pain.

Coaches and parents can prevent injuries by fostering an atmosphere of healthy competition that emphasizes self-reliance, confidence, cooperation, and a positive self-image, rather than just winning.

  • For a consultation, call Dr. Kagan at 239-936-6778. Visit www.kaganortho.com for more valuable information on orthopaedic health.


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