It’s easy for children and teenagers new to athletics to be a little overzealous when they first start out in the sport. Their abilities and techniques might not yet match up to their enthusiasm, meaning muscle strain can be a common occurrence.
The variety of sports in athletics – jumping, running, throwing, vaulting – means that a strain can occur in any part of the body. Although a minor injury, it can be painful and cause further problems if not managed properly.
Below we take a closer look at how you can help your young athlete avoid and treat muscle strain:
What is muscle strain?
This is an injury to a muscle or the muscle-tendon junction in which the muscle has been over-stretched, typically due to weakness, overtraining, fatigue or incorrect movement.
How is it treated?
Initially, stretching should be avoided, just keep the joint moving within a pain-free range.
A physio assessment will help to determine a strengthening program with appropriate exercises for the injured muscle. This will also help with assessing the whole body to prevent compensation and determine if there are any underlying imbalances that increase the chance of injury. Massage, taping the affected area and acupuncture are also very beneficial.
Lastly, we physiotherapists often refer to PRICE, an acronym for the important elements of injury recovery:
How can it be prevented?
It’s important for athletes of any age to strengthen eccentrically – eccentric contractions refers to any movement that lengthens a muscle at the same time as contracting it. These types of exercises are excellent for building muscle strength and size. However, it’s very important to consult a physio for recommendations rather than referring to Google or YouTube as if performed too aggressively, these exercises can cause muscle strain.
As with any activity, properly warming up, cooling down and stretching are essential.
However, if you’re not particularly sporty yourself, it’s understandable that you might not feel confident guiding your young athlete on their training regime. And it’s likely that your child or teen will be reluctant to heed the advice of anyone they don’t perceive to be an expert.
Here at KTB, we welcome clients of all ages. We can help set your child on the right path with an effective training schedule, tips and advice on avoiding and managing injury.
Call or drop into our friendly clinics today.