This time of year marks the beginning of training and competition for many sports. If your child has had a break over the summer, it is important that they return to training and competition safely and minimise their risk of injury.
Here is our list of the TOP 6 THINGS TO CONSIDER AS YOUR CHILD RETURNS TO THEIR SPORTING ACTIVITIES:
- Make sure that they have supportive footwear – Running shoes are designed to provide maximum overall shock absorption and heel control. Although not a cure-all, these qualities in a running/sports shoe can help prevent shin splints, strains, sprains, heel pain, stress fractures and other overuse syndromes. If your child is playing a sport that requires specific shoes (i.e. dancing, rugby,netball or soccer) please see a specialist store for correct fitting.
- Check their equipment – Please look over your child’s equipment to make sure it is in working order and still safe for them to use. Make sure any protective equipment still fits your child. This will help to prevent injuries such as contusions, muscle damage or fractures.
- Stretching before and after activity – Encourage your child to warm up their body with dynamic stretching before they go on to play. Their body should be moving and lightly stretching (eg. high knees, walking lunges, bottom kicks). After training or their game, encourage your child to stretch statically (i.e. not moving). This helps to cool the body down slowly and to release any tension in the muscles that may have built up during your child’s training/game.
- Gradually build up fitness and intensity – After having a break from sport, your child will have lost some of their fitness – that’s ok! Having a short break is a great way for their body to re-set and for their motivation for sports to stay high! However, it does mean that when they do get back into training and competition, they will need to gradually build up their cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility, endurance and sports specific skills. Going too hard too soon could cause an injury or overuse pain.
- Hydration – Water is essential to maintain blood volume, regulate body temperature and allow muscle contractions to take place. Drinking fluid during exercise is necessary to replace fluids lost in sweat. Keeping hydrated will reduce the risk of heat stress, maintain normal muscle function, and prevent performance decreases due to dehydration.
- Do not train on a pre-existing injury without seeking an assessment as to whether it is safe to do so – Exercising on a pre-existing injury may reduce the rate of healing or may worsen the condition. This may compromise your child’s ability to play to their best and have fun! If your child already has a pre-existing injury or niggling pain, come in see one of our physiotherapists. We are trained in providing child-specific rehabilitation programs to ensure that no injury or pain holds them back from participating with their peers.
The physiotherapists at Move and Play are also able to conduct pre-season screening assessments that will assess your child’s joints, muscles and skill level, specific to their chosen sport or activity. From here, we will develop an injury prevention and skill enhancement exercise program customised to your child’s needs to make sure they are able to move and play to the best of their ability!
For any other concerns about your child’s joints, muscles or any pre-existing injuries, please do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment.
Good luck for the new season everyone!