Posts Tagged ‘pediatric orthopedics’

Injuries in the Young Athlete – How much is too much?

Student Athletes Injury PreventionChildren should be encouraged to participate in sports at a young age. Sports can teach children so many life lessons and helps children build their confidence. However, many parents are starting kids in sports at a young age in the hopes of developing their child into a scholarship athelte or a professional athlete. If a young athlete shows promise, many parents encourage their child to specialize in a specific sport and train year round from as young as 6 or 7 years old. This could be harmful because children’s bodies are still growing and developing. Young athletes are more prone to overuse injuries. It is estimated that close to half of the injuries in young athletes are related to overuse/overtraining. In addition to injuries, young athletes are also susceptible to overtraining syndrome and psychologic stress. Female athletes are particularly at risk for stress fractures and even delayed puberty.

With the exception of baseball pitch count research (which has studied how many pitches a young athlete could handle before injury), there is not conclusive research that indicates exactly how much is too much training for a young athlete. The American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness recommends that young athletes should limit their sports specific activities to five days a week with one complete rest day from all physical activity. In addition, the same council recommends young student athletes take at least 2 months off a year from a specific sport to properly rest and rebuild their bodies. Young athletes should avoid playing on two teams in the same season.

Cross-training is good for the body. Our bodies are not designed to do the same thing over and over again, especially as youth and adolescents. It is also beneficial to play more than one sport. It allows athletes to develop more skills, be involved with a different group of teammates and coaches, and keeps them interested. It is also important to properly train the body in the preseason. In preparing for a season or a race it is important to increase training time/mileage by no more than 10% per week.

Sports are an excellent activity for young children and can help them develop life lessons they will use forever. Parents should be encouraged to pay attention to the child and allow them to rest and relax and take time away from their sport to rebuild and rejuvenate. Pay attention to a child who complains of muscle and joint pains, fatigue, or shows signs of psychologic stress. Athletics are a great way for youth to stay healthy and build a strong character, but remember that the number one reason that young people give for playing sports is “to have fun.”

About Jeff Webb, MD
Jeffrey Webb, MDJeff Webb, MD, is an assistant professor of orthopaedics at Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center. Dr. Webb started practicing at Emory in 2008 after completing a Fellowship in Primary Care Sports Medicine at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. He is board certified in pediatrics and sports medicine. He is a team physician for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, and serves as the primary care sports medicine and concussion specialist for the team. He is also a consulting team physician for several Atlanta area high schools and other club sports.

Dr. Webb sees patients of all ages and abilities with musculoskeletal problems, but specializes in the care of pediatric and adolescent patients. He works hard to get players “back in the game” safely and as quickly as possible. He is currently active in the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and American Academy of Pediatrics professional societies and has given multiple lectures at national conferences as well as contributed to sports medicine text books.

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Take-aways from our Pediatric Orthopaedic Hip and Spine Chat with Dr. Fletcher

On February 5, 2013, Dr. Nicholas Fletcher, Emory Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon held a  live web chat to answer questions pertaining to the newest treatment options for pediatric orthopedic hip and spine conditions such as scoliosis, kyphosis, hip dysplasia, leg length differences and femoroacetabular impingement.

One of the most common pediatric orthopedic problems is hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia occurs when the hip socket does not form correctly, which can lead to hip dislocation as a child grows, stated Dr. Fletcher in the chat. Unfortunately, hip dysplasia cannot be diagnosed in a child before birth, a great question which was asked by one of the chat participants. While hip dysplasia is not particularly common, mild abnormalities of the hip socket are regularly seen at birth, but parents should not be alarmed, as these abnormalities typically get better within a couple of months of a child’s life. One of the pediatric hip dysplasia treatment options Dr. Fletcher mentioned in the chat is called the Ganz Osteotomy, a procedure available at Emory. The procedure is used to realign the hip and settings of hip dysplasia when it is found in teenagers and adults.

Participants were also interested to learn that Emory is one of only a few centers in the southeast that offer hip preservation surgeries. Hip preservation is a surgical approach to hip problems in teens and young adults designed to prevent the need for hip replacement down the road. It usually involves realigning an abnormal hip socket into a more normal position or removing bone spurs in the hip that could lead to early arthritis.

Dr. Fletcher provided some great insights and answered some hard pressing questions from chat participants. If you would like to know more about the causes and treatment options of Pediatric Orthopaedic Hip and Spine conditions be sure to take a look at the live web chat transcript. Also, for more information on Scoliosis and on how to become a patient visit Emory Orthopedic and Spine online today.

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Does Your Child Have Hip or Spine Problems? Chat Live with Dr. Fletcher!

Pediatric Orthopedic ChatDid you know that children can be affected by a wide array of orthopaedic hip and spine issues? Scoliosis, kyphosis, hip dysplasia, leg length differences and femoroacetabular impingement are just a few of the conditions our team sees most commonly from pediatric patients. These conditions can lead to time away from school and chronic pain and disability later in life.

Join Emory Pediatric Orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Nicholas Fletcher, for a live interactive web chat on Tuesday, February 5 at noon to get all your questions about symptoms, causes and the newest treatment options for pediatric orthopedic hip and spine conditions answered! See you there!


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About Dr. Fletcher
Dr. Nicholas FletcherDr. Fletcher takes care of all pediatric orthopaedic trauma, neuromuscular disorders, leg length differences, foot conditions, and angular deformities of the lower limbs. In addition, the management of pediatric spinal and hip conditions are particular areas of expertise. Dr. Fletcher also specializes in pediatric and young adult hip conditions including hip dysplasia, femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), perthes disease, avascular necrosis, and slipped capital femoral epiphysis. He is one of only a handful of surgeons in the southeast with expertise in the Ganz or periacetabular osteotomy (PAO) for hip dysplasia and the modified Dunn osteotomy for slipped capital femoral epiphysis. He takes care of children of all ages with hip conditions in addition to young adults with hip dysplasia and impingement.

The Truth About Growing Pains

Jeffrey Webb, MDToday kids and teens are playing sports more than ever before. And they’re playing sports at a higher level, year round. It’s common to see kids playing on multiple sports teams that allow them to display their talents and ascend to the next level of competition. Naturally, kids sometimes feel pressure from coaches and parents to perform well at all these events. In short, there is no off-season for many young athletes.

What many parents may not know: an unwanted side effect of all this activity is what’s commonly referred to as “growing pains.” I often see pediatric and adolescent patients with the following symptoms: pain located near any of the joints, but most often in the front of the knees.

Although “growing pains” are common, they should not be shrugged off. In fact, these aches are not caused by simple bone growth, as many would believe. Rather, the pains are caused by repetitive stress placed on the growth plate. Growing pains are actually at the growth center where tendons meet bone. If not treated, it can cause problems for the patient, including the need to wear a brace or, in the case of foot injuries, a therapeutic boot.

Standard treatment for growing pains involves proper stretching, ice, taking anti-inflammatory drugs, and possibly rest. Sometimes, our bodies just need time to grow properly. It may also benefit a young patient to play multiple sports, instead of focusing concentrated time and energy on just football, for instance. The adolescent body is not built to perform the same movement over and over again throughout the year.

If you have an active child or teen that’s experiencing growing pains, try these treatments. If the pain persists or interferes with activities, give Emory Sports Medicine a call. With the right treatment, we can help young athletes continue with their favorite sporting activities.

Do you have any questions about childhood growing pains? If so, be sure to let me know in the comments.

About Jeffrey Webb, MD:

Jeffrey Webb, MD, is an assistant professor of orthopaedics. Dr. Webb started practicing at Emory in 2008 after completing a Fellowship in Primary Care Sports Medicine at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. He is board certified in pediatrics and sports medicine. He is the team physician for Decatur High School and several high schools in the Atlanta area. He also is a consulting physician for the Atlanta Dekalb International Olympic Training Center, Emory University, Oglethorpe University, Georgia Perimeter College, and the Atlanta Xplosion, women’s contact football.