How does sports medicine vary by age?

Children and adults have different medical needs, and this extends to sports medicine and orthopedics. Pediatricians encourage children to enjoy physical fitness activities like team and individual sports, but safety is a priority. You can get a quick introduction to pediatric sports medicine issues when you watch the accompanying video. It features a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Sunrise Children’s Hospital, who discusses age-appropriate sports restrictions and healthcare for young athletes.

Growth plates in young athletes
All children have growth plates . These are made up of growing tissues, and they’re located toward the ends of the bones. Solid bone replaces growth plates only when a person has finished growing.

Growth plates are susceptible to serious injuries. If an adult falls down while playing tennis, he or she might strain a ligament or pull a muscle. If a child suffers the same fall, he or she might sustain a growth plate injury.

Without age-appropriate orthopedic care, children with growth plate injuries are at an increased risk of long-term complications. These are uncommon, but can include misshapen bones, arthritis and limbs that are too short.

Growth spurts in children
Preteens and teens who enjoy sports typically increase their activities around these ages. As kids go through growth spurts, the bones can lengthen faster than the soft tissues. This can cause the muscles and tendons to get tighter, which raises the risk of injuries around the time that activities are increased.

During sports physicals, pediatricians can counsel young patients and their families about injury prevention.

Nutrition for active children
Children’s nutritional needs change as they grow, and as they adjust their activity levels. Pediatricians can provide dietary advice that is appropriate for each individual patient.

Very active children need more calories from healthy sources. Meals should have a good balance of lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, low-fat dairy, vegetables and fruits. Young athletes also need to consume more fluids, especially if their sport is played outside in hot weather.

The health and safety of children in our Las Vegas community are our highest priorities here at Sunrise Children’s Hospital . We bring together leading pediatric specialists who are committed to providing superior care to each of our young patients. Call our children’s hospital at (702) 233-5437 to request a referral to an orthopedic specialist.

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