Physical activity including sport and fitness has a significant role in your child’s life, having a substantial impact on your child’s overall health and wellbeing. Physical activity has benefits for children including increasing muscle and bone strength, coordination and body awareness, thereby promoting healthy physical growth and reducing the risk of adult conditions such as cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2014).
Sport is particularly popular in regional South East South Australia. Our specifically trained paediatric physiotherapists are involved in local community sporting clubs including the Western Border and Mid-South East football and netball leagues, the Little Athletics club, the local netball association, soccer and hockey clubs, baseball, cricket and tennis associations. Sport injuries commonly occur, and physiotherapists are specifically trained in the diagnosis, treatment and management of injuries such as rolled ankles, tight calf or hamstring muscles, sore knees or lower back and troublesome shoulders.
If you are concerned about your child’s sport and/or fitness related injuries or goals, we encourage you to see a member of our team, or seek the assistance of your GP, Paediatrician or Child and Youth Health nurse.
Common child sports injuries
A range of sprains, tears and strains may occur for children through everyday play, school or sports activities. Children may encounter:
- Ankle sprains
- Knee sprains or tears
- Back sprains
- Os good schlatters
- Severs Disease/calcaneal apophysitis
- Patella Femoral Joint Syndrome (PFJ)
- Overuse injuries
See our professional Physiotherapy team for advice and treatment for these conditions to maximise your child’s health and development.
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Warm up and Cool down
Warm-up and cool-down activities need to be included into children’s training and sporting routines. An adequate warm-up prepares the body for a specific activity, as well as helping to prevent injuries to muscles. Warm ups should be specific to the particular sport the child is participating in. These should include but, are not limited to; cardiovascular activity and dynamic stretches which focus on the primary muscle groups used during the activity.
It is often seen in children’s sport that adequate cool downs are dismissed and not viewed to be important, however after participating in high intensity activity, the body needs time to allow for recovery. Typically, a cool down would consist of similar exercises to that which were part of the warm up, however completed at a lower intensity. Stretching after participating in sporting activities is also very important and assists in maintaining flexibility in the joints and muscles.
Injury prevention guidelines have been put together for specific sports to assist in improving your performance and reducing risk of injury. Such programs include the:
- Soccer- Fifi 11+ Injury prevention program
- Netball- KNEE Program
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