As your child heads into their teenage years, there are a few things you should know about the potential for injuries. Though kids have been getting hurt since the dawn of time, puberty introduces a whole new level of risk, as changes in the body make them more prone to certain types of injuries. Understanding these risks can help you keep your child. Going back into this athletic sports season, we must consider how you and your kids can be safe from unnecessary injuries. So read on to learn the truth about pubescent injuries!
We’re talking about the obvious differences between men and women, as we go into this athletic season. Namely: what kinds of injuries you’re prone to depending on your gender? There’s no “gender typing” here – just physiologic difference between genders particularly during puberty when hormones change dramatically. A lot of it comes down to hormonal differences as well as the way the body construct.
If you look at kids if and when they’re, especially, they’re co-ed sports and competing against each other, they are almost at the same level for what they can do. But once puberty hits, there’s a distinct difference. Almost everyone grows taller during puberty, but boys have a protective growth hormone called testosterone that helps with muscle growth. Girls don’t have the same type of protective growth hormone, so they are more likely to get injured at hand this time. Injuries like ligament tears (like the ACL) happen more often, then. There are a lot of things we need to consider to keep people in this area healthy.
The way our body is built can cause us to be more likely to get injured in a certain way. For example, one of the reasons women have a higher chance of getting ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries is because their hips are wider, which means more force is put on their knees when they move.
The ACL’s role is not just to protect you from shifting the knee backward and forward. It also creates a figure eight that encompasses both your medial and your lateral meniscus. The ACL is responsible for distributing stresses that come from the menisci. Women having a wider hip set puts a lot more stress on the ACL, the medial meniscus, and the medial collateral ligaments in the knees, and hence have a higher likelihood of having those kinds of injuries.
The other big change is in the hormonal perspective. Women go through big hormonal cycles. Every time there’s a menstrual cycle, there’s a major influx of estrogen. It makes sense that estrogen, a hormone intended for female mammals and only present in women (not men), helps with things like relieving pain and increasing flexibility. Estrogen makes the ligaments looser in preparation for childbearing. Men, on the other hand, apparently are not strong enough to do so. We do not have the hormonal makeup (or mental fortitude) to carry babies.
When women are giving birth, the high load of estrogen is what allows for the pelvis to expand and contract. It will then allow for the passage of a child. This similar hormonal flux takes place as a woman athlete is going into their athleticism. Hormonal shifts and wild swings can sometimes cause ligaments and joints to be less stable. If the body is not used to this new level of flexibility, it can make you more vulnerable to injuries.
When you are a female and you’re going through adolescence, you will experience a growth spurt. However, it doesn’t often have the same accompaniment of muscle protection, especially through the trunk. What can happen is, that you might not have as much abdominal strength as you need to stay in athletic positions. This can be a problem if you’re not very well trained.
What will happen then is, that’ll shift your pelvis into abnormal positions. If you grow a few inches, your body will learn how to use the new you. If you do not have enough control of your body, this can cause your pelvic position to change and this might influence how well you can do things in the future. For example, it might make it more likely for someone to have an ACL tear.
Stress and Sleep
When are all of these happening?
A growth spurt happens during adolescents’ teenage years. This is when young people start to stress out more about school and start to stay up later during the night. Moreover, especially these days, our kids do best in staying up way later than they should be on their phones.
It’s no secret lack of sleep and increased stress can take a toll on our physical health, but did you know that they can also contribute to injury? Adolescent athletes are especially susceptible to injury because of the demands placed on their bodies. Studies have shown lack of sleep and increased stress can lead to problems with coordination and balance, which can put athletes at greater risk for injury. The inability to move one’s body freely because of the lack of sleep and increased stress is what makes an ACL injury so much worse.
How Can We Help Them?
There are things we can do to protect our kids as they go into this athletic season.
1. Hydration is an essential part of injury prevention for athletes because it keeps them flexible, pliable, and able to perform at their best.
2. Good nutrition is vital for the body’s ability to rebuild and repair itself. Without proper nutrition, our bodies would be unable to function at their best. Think of your body as a machine: it needs the right fuel to run smoothly. Just as you wouldn’t put water in your car’s gas tank, you need to make sure you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs to thrive.
3. You can prevent some injuries by doing strength training. This will help your body have more muscles to help keep your joints in good shape. When you know you’re going to do something that puts a lot of stress on your joints, the extra muscle will help protect them from too much movement.
Research shows strength training is necessary for at least eight months to have a protective effect. This doesn’t mean you need an entire year of lifting weights, but it does mean working your muscles consistently and properly over this time frame will help prevent injury in athletes as well!
Considering all these, if you’ve got a daughter who’s trying to get into sports and you don’t want to have an avoidable ACL injury, start preparing them by getting some weight training into their world, and make it a regular habit. With the gift of weight training at a young age, they might not need to come and seek help later on because of injuries or pains because they’ve been so healthy. That is really what we want for everybody.
As we’ve seen, many factors can lead to injuries during puberty. Parents need to be aware of these and take the necessary precautions to help their children stay safe and healthy. We hope this article has been helpful and informative. If you have any questions or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to schedule a discovery call with you so we can discuss your specific needs and provide solutions tailored just for you and your family. Thank you for reading!
If you’re needing help to get you and your child a jumpstart at preparing for a healthy, sports-ready body, we’d be happy to schedule a discovery call with you. During this call, we can discuss your symptoms in more detail and come up with a plan tailored specifically for you.
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DISCLAIMER: The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional