Young Athletes: Injuries And Prevention

Article by Catherine Paddock, PhD. | Found on MedicalNewsToday

High profile events like the Olympics bring the hope that witnessing and celebrating dedicated athletes at the top of their game, will inspire young people to take up sport and physical activities that help them develop confidence, lead more satisfying lives, and not least, secure long-term health by reducing their risk for developing chronic illness like diabetesobesitycancer and cardiovascular diseases.

But unfortunately, if they don’t take appropriate measures, young athletes can instead, end up in pain, on a different path to poor health, due to avoidable sport injury.

James R. Andrews, a former president of the American Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), said in May this year, the US has experienced a tremendous rise in the number of young people taking up sport. Estimates show 3.5 million children aged 14 and under receive medical treatment for sport-related injuries, while high-school athletes account for another 2 million a year.

“This makes sports the leading cause of adolescent injury. Along with time away from school and work, these injuries can have far-reaching effects,” said Andrews.

This article looks at some of the common and less common injuries in young athletes. It then reviews a new project that is tracking injuries in Olympic athletes, introduces some ideas about avoiding and minimizing injury, and finishes with a list of tips for preventing sport injury in children.

Common Sport Injuries

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health in the US, the most common sport injuries are due to accidents, poor training practices or using the wrong gear or equipment. People can also hurt themselves because they are not in shape, or because they don’t warm up or stretch enough.

Some injury experts in the US have said they are also seeing more and more young athletes injured because of overuse and doing too much, and this may partially explain the growing numbers that drop out of sport by the eighth grade. The most common sports injuries are:

  • Knee injuries,
  • Sprains and strains,
  • Swollen muscles,
  • Achilles tendon injuries,
  • Pain along the shin bone, and
  • Fractures and dislocations.

While injuries in young athletes are similar to the ones that affect adults, they can’t always be treated in the same way because their bodies are not fully developed.

Take for example knee injury.

One type of knee injury is damage to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). This is a severe injury that occurs most often in athletes who play football and other contact sports.

Twenty years ago, doctors were seeing few children or adolescents with ACL injuries. Today, these injuries are more common because youngsters are taking up sports earlier, and pushing themselves more competitively.

Another reason for the rise in young people with ACL injury, say researchers from the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City, is that more and more young athletes are specializing in one sport, putting them at risk of injuries normally only seen in professional athletes.

But this type of knee injury in young people is a particular concern because it is not easy to repair in growing bodies, for instance ACL reconstructive surgery that works well in adults can potentially cause uneven limb length or other deformities in growing bodies. That is why often the best course has been “benign neglect”. However, clinicians are beginning to realize that not operating can also lead to problems, such as early arthritis.

There are alternatives to conventional ACL reconstructive surgery, that have lower risk of damage in growing bodies, such as the All-Inside, All-Epiphyseal ACL Reconstruction (AE), but this is not commonly available.

Clinicians are calling for more research to be done into sports injuries in younger people.

Back and Neck Injuries

Back and neck injuries are much less common in young athletes, but when they occur, they can cause enormous frustration. The athlete must complete a comprehensive and demanding rehabilitation program before returning to competitive sport: in some cases, they may never return to their given sport.

Most back and neck injuries in athletes are sprains of ligaments or strains of muscles. Aside from trauma, these are usually due to athletic overuse, improper body mechanics and technique, being out of condition, or not stretching enough. The athlete will complain of back pain when active and performing, and will feel relief when resting.

But, occasionally, a more serious condition can have similar symptoms. Because of this, proper treatment of back and neck injuries in young athletes should always include a good evaluation by a doctor, using imaging studies when necessary.

According to the North American Spine Society, the more serious back and neck injuries include:

    • Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis: a particular type of defect in the vertebra of the spine (spondylolysis), and where one vertebra slips relative to another (spondylolisthesis). A common cause of back pain in young athletes, particularly gymnasts because they have to twist and hyperextend their spines.
    • Stinger (also called “burner” or “nerve pinch”): where forcing the head back and to the side compresses a nerve of the spinal cord in the neck, or where forcing the head sideways away from the shoulder over-stretches the nerves in the neck and shoulder. Most common in football and wrestling, the injury often goes unreported because symptoms can resolve suddenly and quickly. Can recur and lead to persistent pain or arm weakness if not treated.
    • Disc injury: a common cause of back pain in adult athletes, much less so among young athletes, it may or may not be associated with sciatica (shooting pain down the leg). Careful diagnosis, including MRI scans, can help to rule out other possible causes that can mimic disc injury in young bodies that are still growing.
    • Scheuermann’s Disease or juvenile kyphosis: another common cause of back pain in young athletes during puberty that occurs in the mid- as opposed to the lower-back, and leads to a roundness of the back that worsens to a dome shape on bending forwards. Exercises are often not enough to correct this disease, and if wearing a brace does not relieve the pain, surgery may be required, after which it is unlikely the athlete will be able to resume their given sport.

Research on Olympians: the Injury and Illness Performance Project (IIPP)

Although you can’t completely eliminate injury and illness, you can look at ways to reduce the risks. This is the purpose of an ambitious and comprehensive national multisport study called the Injury and Illness Performance Project (IIPP).

Beijing 2008 was the first time the International Olympic Committee gathered data on multisport injury, and the Great Britain (GB) squad showed itself to be the best prepared, recording the lowest average injury rate.

Shortly after Beijing, the UK Sport Research & Innovation Team and the English Institute of Sport (EIS) set up the country’s first national multisport injury and illness epidemiological study of its kind.

The project started collecting and examining data in 2009 and is still ongoing. Medical and coaching staff from sports national governing bodies send in detailed information about the occurrence of injury and illness in athletes, and their exposure to risk in training and competition.

Rod Jaques, Director of Medical Services at EIS, says it is important to understand the nature of illness and injury incidence before putting in place new treatments.

14 Olympic sports are involved in the study, each with their own set of data on injury incidence, illness prevalence, and associated risk factors. And each sport has a specific set of recommendations for reducing the risk of injury or illness.

Injury-related results from the project show that since 2009:

    • 67% of interruptions to training for British athletes from Olympic sports have been because of injury.
    • 43% of athletes will get at least one injury per season, some will have several.
    • On average, each injury results in a loss of 17 days of training, and 1 missed competition.
    • The rate and severity of injury during training is lower than during competition.
    • Overall, injuries to the knee, shoulder, hip and lumbar spine present the greatest risk, and the greatest number of total days lost.

EIS Sports Physician Kate Strachan says that the project is a powerful tool because you can turn to an athlete and say, “you have lost X days due to injury last season”. This is just as important to take notice of as making sure you have the best kit and training environment and coach.

Paul Jackson, another EIS Sports Physician, works with pentathletes. He says the information on the link between some lower limb injuries and training load has helped them change injury prevention drills. For some pentathletes, “this means not running and fencing on the same day,” he adds.

Debbie Palmer-Green, a Research Scientist at the EIS, says the project signifies a new approach that views injury and illness as “performance threats”.

Prehab to Avoid Rehab

Prehab, short for prehabilitation, is a relatively new idea in sports medicine and therapy. It is a personalized exercise program that is individually designed for athletes to help them prevent injury in their given sport.

(There is also another use of the term prehab that refers to improving patients’ fitness before undergoing surgery so they make a quicker recovery and can withstand the inactivity that often follows the procedure).

The aim of prehab is to avoid injury by compensating for the repetitive movements and stresses of regular, often daily, training. In some respects, you can view athletic training for peak performance in a sport as a form of repetitive strain, with the potential to result in injury in much the same way as computer operators can get occupational injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and shoulder problems.

With repetitive use, muscles become tight, the body develops imbalances in strength and muscle coordination. These happen naturally during activity, but because training is repetitive, they become repeatedly reinforced with each workout, unless that workout also incorporates some compensating activity, such as in a prehab routine.

A common problem in athlete training is that many athletes and coaches follow the traditional methods of upper and lower body lifting, or basic sprinting and lifting exercises, as a way to develop strength outside of the specific sport drills. But this can leave the core weak in comparison. A prehab program in this case would start with core stability, perhaps focusing on hips, stomach and back core.

Once the basic core program is in place and working, the prehab is updated to include more subtle and focused movements that increase dynamic stability and improve skills in the given sport.

To ensure the best chance of success with prehab, the athlete should start practising it before injury occurs. But unfortunately the usual route to prehab is via injury. A typical scenario is the athlete injures him or herself, goes to a sport therapist or specialist trainer for rehabilitation (rehab), and the therapist then persuades them to sign up for prehab to stop it happening again.

Another way to keep prehab useful and working for the athlete, is to ensure it continually evolves with the needs and changing fitness and ability of the individual. The exercises should be progressive and re-evaluated regularly. There is also the important need to challenge and motivate the athlete, and stop them becoming bored, or habituated to the program.

A successful prehab program is one that forms a regular part of an athlete’s training routine. The therapist needs to have a detailed knowledge of the athlete’s sport, their strengths and weaknesses, and be able to have frank, open conversations with the individual.

Focus on Body’s Imbalances

Stew Smith, graduate of the US Naval Academy, former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness and self defense books, advocates prehab as a way to prevent common injuries of daily life and sport.

He says, to be specific, a prehab program must focus on a person’s body imbalances. There are many natural imbalances in the body:

“Basically, for any movement your body makes,” says Smith, “there are two or more groups of muscles or joints that are stretching (or flexing) to make (or oppose) that motion.”

Most imbalances, says Smith, occur in the following regions of the body:

    • Abdomen/lower back: too many people when working out, focus on stomach muscles and neglect lower back.
    • Chest and upper back/rear shoulder: many young athletes try to “bench press a truck” but neglect their upper backs and rear deltoids. This can result in shoulder injury and a sloping upper back.
    • Thighs and hamstrings: you need a very delicate combination of exercises so the backs of the legs don’t get underworked. Hamstring injuries usually occur when sprinting or jumping, and usually the upper side of the hamstring gets injured. A smart rehab program would include stretching that incorporates the top and bottom of the hamstring connections.

Tips for Injury Prevention in Young Athletes

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following:

    • Time off: take at least 1 day off a week to give your body time to recover.
    • Take breaks: during practice sessions and games to reduce risk of injury and prevent heat illness.
    • Use the correct gear: this should be right for the sport and fit properly, for instance pads for neck, shoulders, elbows, chest, knees, and shins, as well as helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups, and/or eyewear. And don’t assume because you are wearing protective gear you can perform more dangerous and risky things.


Drinking regular fluids should be an important part of your exercise regime.

    • Drink plenty of fluids: before, during and after exercise or play to avoid heat illness; wearing light clothing also helps. Coaches and trainers should reduce or stop practices or competitions when heat or humidity is high.
    • Build muscle strength: do your conditioning exercises before games and during practice to strengthen the muscles you use during play.
    • Increase flexibility: by stretching before and after games and practice.
    • Use the proper technique: coaches and trainers should reinforce this during the playing season.
    • Play safe: coaches and leaders should enforce strict rules against headfirst sliding (eg in baseball), spearing (football), and body checking (ice hockey), and stop the activity if there is any pain.

They also advise coaches and parents to consider the emotional stress that the pressure to win can cause for a young athlete, and recommend they adopt these principles:

“Young athletes should be judged on effort, sportsmanship and hard work. They should be rewarded for trying hard and for improving their skills rather than punished or criticized for losing a game or competition. The main goal should be to have fun and learn lifelong physical activity skills.”

Hear, Hear.

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

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Late Teen Years are Key Period for Bone Growth

Article Found on MedicalNewsToday

The late adolescent years are an important period for gaining bone mineral, even after a teenager attains his or her adult height. Scientists analyzing a racially diverse, multicenter sample from a large, federally funded national study say their findings reinforce the importance of diet and physical activities during the late teen years, as a foundation for lifelong health.

“We often think of a child’s growth largely with respect to height, but overall bone development is also important,” said lead author Shana E. McCormack, MD, a pediatric researcher at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). “This study shows that roughly 10 percent of bone mass continues to accumulate after a teenager reaches his or her adult height.” Read more

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Throwing It Away- Pitching Injuries Are On The Rise

Article by Jason Zaremski | Found on Sports.good.is

Baseball marks the end of winter and the start of spring, and as a nation, we not only delight in watching the pros, but also in watching our kids play this great game.

Unfortunately, we sports medicine doctors are seeing an increase in injuries to the throwing arm in youngsters, and many of these require surgery. Most worrisome is that the risk for developing a throwing injury was shown to increase by 36 times in adolescent pitchers who continued playing with a fatigued arm. Read more

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Common Hip Injuries in Kids

Article by Kevin Shea | Found on StopSportsInjuries.org

Pediatric athletes are subject to several different acute hip injuries. These injuries include problems around the growth plate and around the femur and pelvis. In some cases, acute symptoms can develop in association with previous hip conditions. Two common hip injuries are discussed below. Read more

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Back Pain in Children and Teens

Article By Laurie Udesky | Found on HealthDay

Anyone who has spent time with children knows that some of them can bend themselves into positions that defy logic. A teenager may think nothing of dropping into full splits in front of the television. A child with extra flexibility may love impressing her friends by bending her thumb all the way back to her wrist.

Dexterity is a good thing. But it can go too far, even in kids. Children and teenagers can end up with chronic back pain for any number of reasons, including injuries from sports or stressing overly flexible joints. In rare cases, they may be born with spinal problems. Whatever the cause, it’s important to recognize the signs of a problem. Read more

Inactive Teens Develop Lazy Bones

Article Featured on Science Daily

Inactive teens have weaker bones than those who are physically active, according to a new study.

Researchers with UBC and the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, at the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, measured the physical activity and bone strength of 309 teenagers over a specific four-year period that is crucial for lifelong, healthy skeletal development.

“We found that teens who are less active had weaker bones, and bone strength is critical for preventing fractures,” said Leigh Gabel, lead author and PhD candidate in orthopedics at UBC.

Gabel and her co-investigators used high resolution 3D X-ray images to compare differences between youth who met the daily recommendation of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day and those who got less than 30 minutes a day.

The four-year window — between the ages of 10 to 14 for girls and 12 to 16 for boys — is a vital time when as much as 36 per cent of the human skeleton is formed and bone is particularly responsive to physical activity.

“Kids who are sitting around are not loading their bones in ways that promote bone strength,” said Gabel, which is why weight-bearing activities such as running and jumping and sports like soccer, ultimate Frisbee and basketball are important.

Bone strength is a combination of bone size, density and microarchitecture. While boys had larger and stronger bones throughout the study, both boys and girls responded in the same way to physical activity.

“We need school-and community-based approaches that make it easier for children and families to be more active,” said co-author Heather McKay, a professor in orthopedics and family practice at UBC and the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility. The good news is that activity does not have to be structured or organized to be effective: short bursts such as dancing at home, playing tag at the park, chasing your dog or hopping and skipping count, too.

Parents and caregivers can support healthy choices by being role models and limiting screen time. McKay highlights simple yet effective tactics used in the Action Schools! BC intervention where children and their teachers took activity breaks throughout the day during lessons.

“The bottom line is that children and youth need to step away from their screens and move to build the foundation for lifelong bone health,” said McKay.

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

1.35 Million Youths a Year Have Serious Sports Injuries

Article by Michelle Healey | Found on USAtoday

Safe Kids Worldwide survey of emergency room visits shows more than a million times a year, or about every 25 seconds, a young athlete visits a hospital emergency room for a sports-related injury.

Occasional bumps and bruises are expected when kids play sports, but for more than 1.35 million children last year a sports-related injury was severe enough to send them to a hospital emergency department.

Sprains and strains, fractures, contusions, abrasions and concussions top the list of sports-related ER diagnoses for kids ages 6 to 19 — at a cost of more than $935 million each year, according to a report out Tuesday from the non-profit advocacy group Safe Kids Worldwide.

The report, which analyzed data for 2011 and 2012, did not find a statistical difference between the two years, but is concerning — one in five kids who go to ERs for treatment of an injury is there for sports injuries, says Kate Carr, Safe Kids president and CEO.

“Far too many kids are arriving in emergency rooms for injuries that are predictable and preventable,” Carr says.

Using data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the report focused on pediatric sports injuries related to 14 common sports activities, including football, cheerleading, soccer and basketball. More than 46.5 million children played team sports in 2011, says the report.

It finds that in 2012, 12% of all ER visits (163,670) involved a concussion, the equivalent of one every three minutes. Nearly half (47%) were in kids ages 12 to 15.

That’s particularly troubling, given research showing that younger athletes take a longer time to heal than older athletes after a concussion, which is a traumatic brain injury, because their bodies are still growing, Carr says. “And we know that a second concussion later can cause even more issues.”

Like previous studies, the new report shows that in sports in which both girls and boys participate, girls report a higher percentage of concussions. Among youth basketball players, for example, 11.5% of girls seen in the ER are diagnosed with concussions, compared with 7.2% of boys. Among soccer players, it’s 17.1% of girls compared with 12.4% of boys.

It’s unclear what accounts for the variation, says sports medicine physician Kathryn Ackerman, co-director of the Female Athlete Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. “We are still looking into it, trying to see if there are really genetic differences, differences in play, or differences in biomechanics, but we don’t have that link yet.” Ackerman was not involved in the new study.

Although the number of injuries cited in the new report may seem high, the actual number is likely even higher, says Neeru Jayanthi, a sports medicine physician at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago. That’s because the study included only ERs, and many kids go to urgent care centers, their regular doctor or a sports medicine clinic, says Jayanthi, who was not involved in the study.

Nor do the figures highlight the significant number of overuse injuries, “about 25% of which end up being serious,” he says. Overuse injuries to tendons, bones and joints can result from playing the same sport and performing the same movements too often, too hard or at too young an age with inadequate recovery time.

Research reported earlier this year by Jayanthi and colleagues found that young athletes who played a single sport for more hours a week than years they were old — such as a 10-year-old who played 11 or more hours of soccer — were 70% more likely to experience serious overuse injuries.

Letting the body rest, adding preventive and strengthening exercises, and following proper technique are among injury prevention strategies recommended in the new report. It also says athletes should be encouraged to speak up about injuries, coaches should be supported in injury-prevention decisions, and parents and young athletes should become better educated about sports safety.

“These statistics don’t have to be part of the game if we take some simple precautions,” Carr says.

Among other findings from the report:

• Football resulted in both the highest number of all pediatric injuries (394,350) and the highest concussion rate (40 per 10,000 athletes). Wrestling and cheerleading had the second- and third-highest concussion rates (15 per 10,000 athletes and 12 per 10,000 athletes, respectively).

• Ice hockey had the highest percentage (31%) of concussion injuries; its rate was 10 per 10,000 athletes.

• The most common injuries were to the ankle (15%), followed by head (14%) finger (12%), knee (9%) and face (7%).

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area. New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions ó such as sports injuries and fractures ó to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders. Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more. If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

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Strong Bones for Life

By Emily Sohn | Found on Science News for Students

If you’re like most kids, you probably think you’ll never get old. Achy joints, failing eyesight, heart attacks: These are things you won’t have to deal with for a long time, right? So why worry now?

As it turns out, the choices you make now can make a big difference in how you feel later in life. I recently learned this lesson the hard way.

It started with an injury: a cracked shinbone caused by too much running on hard pavement. My doctor suggested a bone scan, which showed that my bones are weaker than average. I don’t have osteoporosis, a disease that causes older people to shrink in height and break bones easily. But I’m close.

For me, the diagnosis was a scary wakeup call. I’m just 27 years old, but already I’m worried about things that normally happen only to women more than twice my age. Will I break my hip if I slip on a patch of ice? Is it safe for me to go skiing, lift heavy boxes, play Ultimate Frisbee?

Perhaps what upsets me most is the realization that I might have avoided all of this if only I had thought ahead earlier in life. Childhood and adolescence are the most important times to build strong bones. For you, there’s still time. Doctors suggest a variety of foods you can eat and exercises you can do as a teenager to build strong bones for life.

Living tissue

Bones are amazing. They’re hard but flexible, and they’re lightweight but tough. Without bones, we’d be just puddles of skin and guts.

An adult person has 206 bones in his or her body. The outer layer of a typical bone is made of a hard material honeycombed with tunnels. This web of hollow pipes allows a bone to be strong and light. It also allows the passage of nutrients and waste. A protein called collagen gives a bone its elasticity. Chemicals known as calcium salts make a bone hard.

But, even though our bones support us, they’re easy to ignore. Unlike a cut or bruise, a weak bone isn’t visible or painful.

Osteoporosis is sometimes called a silent disease. People often don’t realize they have it until it has progressed so far that they break bones while doing ordinary things, such as walking down stairs or lifting heavy objects.

Osteoporosis happens mostly to older people. But I’m not the only woman in her 20s with weak bones. Increasingly, scientists are finding that weak bones are a problem in teenagers and even younger kids. That’s especially troubling because youth is the critical time for bone growth.

If you’ve ever seen a skeleton in a museum, you might think that bones are dead. In fact, bones are living tissue. They reshape and rebuild themselves many times as you grow and age.

The cycle of building and breaking down bone changes over a person’s lifetime. Bone-building is fastest during the first 3 years of life and again during adolescence. By the time you’re in your 20s, the tissue in your bones is about as tightly packed as it’s going to get.

Measuring something called bone density tells you how tightly packed the bone tissue is. A high bone density normally shows that you have strong bones.

Once you get to be about 35 years old, bone tissue gets broken down more quickly than it’s replaced. This means that bones tend to lose tissue, and the bone density goes down. That’s when osteoporosis usually becomes a concern. And it’s a bigger risk for women than for men.

Food concerns

Getting the right kind of bone-building nutrition and exercise as a teenager is like putting money in the bank. Your bones can stay strong as you get older.

Unfortunately, many teenagers don’t think about their bones when they order lunch or decide what to do with their free time. They’d rather snack on chips or slurp soda than think about vitamins.

And parents don’t always set the best example. “I was standing by the elevator at Children’s Hospital,” says Susan Coupey, an adolescent medical specialist at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in Bronx, New York. “There was a 2-year-old child being fed soda by his parents.”

Junk food has few nutrients. It also fills you up, so you don’t eat enough of the good stuff. That’s one reason why many adults want schools to get rid of soda machines.

Doctors urge kids to get plenty of calcium, the mineral that makes bones strong. Calcium is also essential for keeping nerves, blood, and muscles healthy. When you don’t take in enough calcium, your body takes calcium out of your bones, which weakens your bones even more.

Although calcium is abundant in milk, yogurt, cheese, fortified juices, soy milk, and some nuts and vegetables, few people get enough of it. The Institute of Medicine recommends that kids between the ages of 9 and 18 get 1,300 milligrams of calcium every day. That’s roughly the amount of calcium in a quart of milk.

Yet fewer than 10 percent of girls and 25 percent of boys get that much, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. “The average calcium intake of adolescent girls in the United States is somewhere around 900 milligrams,” Coupey says. “Many take in just 600 to 700 milligrams.”

Paying attention

Now that I’ve started paying attention, I realize that getting enough calcium takes some effort. Getting 1,300 milligrams of calcium is equivalent to drinking about four glasses of milk, eating 10 cups of cooked broccoli, or having two glasses of milk, a cup of yogurt, and a glass of orange juice—every day!

And that’s not all you need. To absorb the calcium you eat, you have to take in a variety of other vitamins and minerals, including lots of vitamin D.

In the summertime, you get vitamin D from sunlight on your skin. Where I live in Minnesota, though, it’s too dark and cold much of the year to spend a great deal of time outside. To get the recommended 400 to 800 international units of vitamin D recommended for people my age, I drink 2 cups of fortified milk every day, and I take a vitamin supplement. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that teenagers take a daily multivitamin that has 200 international units of vitamin D.

Getting enough exercise is also crucial. “There have been some really excellent studies showing the effectiveness of weight-bearing exercise and strengthening exercises on bone density,” Coupey says.

Any exercise at all is better than sitting in front of the TV. Walking and lifting weights, in particular, are great for building muscles that support and strengthen bone. Playing soccer, tennis, or basketball are also good options.

A recent study found that elementary school girls who did jumping exercises for 10 to 12 minutes, three times a week, built 5 percent more bone mass than did girls who didn’t do the exercises. That’s enough bone mass to buy women some extra bone strength later in life, said the scientists from the University of British Columbia who did the study.

Even if you’re glued to the TV set, why not do some jumping jacks during the commercials? Have a glass of milk or fortified juice and some almonds instead of a can of soda and chips.

The changes are small, but the payoff could be big. You might even be amazed at how good it feels to take care of your bones. Support them, and they will support you for many years to come.

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Teens playing through pain, not taking sports injuries seriously, says study

Teens Playing Through Pain, Not Taking Sports Injuries Seriously

Article by Elizabeth Murray | Featured on Today

During a high-school field-hockey game in September 2013, near her Virginia hometown, Brie Boothby was struck in the side of her head with an opponent’s stick. Boothby blacked out.

“The only thought in my mind was getting back in the game,” she told TODAY’s Sheinelle Jones. And despite her injury, the field-hockey player kept playing. “I thought I had to be tough. I thought I had to go back in because we were losing and I needed to support my team.”

Read more