Preventing Youth Sports Injuries May Prevent Future Osteoarthritis

Youth sports can be a lot of fun, both for children and their parents. Activities such as soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis and volleyball enable children to exercise and socialize. They’re a tailor-made way for kids to meet friends, and they keep children away from TVs and tablet screens. However, youth sports can increase a child’s risk of developing osteoarthritis in the future. Here’s a look at major reasons:

Injuries May Affect a Youth’s Cartilage

An injury such as a knee injury may rear its head again years down the road. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, occurs when protective cartilage wears down over time. In fact, many adults 40 or older have minor or even major osteoarthritis in some of their joints. A sports injury may begin to affect a child’s cartilage at a much younger age. It possibly sets the stage for problems down the road.

One solution is to steer your child toward noncontact sports such as swimming, tennis and golf. Limited-contact sports are good, too. They include basketball, volleyball and baseball. Soccer and football are high-contact sports. The jury is still out as to whether running track (a noncontact sport) may lead to more cases of osteoarthritis later on.

Children May Be Too Eager to Play Again

Injuries require proper rest and recovery. However, children are children. Even if they take time away from a particular sport to recover, they may still run and jump elsewhere. Their injuries might never fully heal. Parents should take extra care to ensure their children have outlets for play and adventure that don’t involve stressing their injuries.

Playing Only One Sport Year-Round Places Repetitive Stress on Joints

To prevent sports injuries and, hopefully, serious osteoarthritis, children should play several different sports throughout the year instead of focusing on the same one. Each sport involves different motions that affect the joints differently even if it’s the mostly the same joints that come into play.

Children should take at least two months off from sports per year.

Sports Are Still a Great Option

Many children enjoy youth sports. These sports are probably more beneficial overall to a child’s health even if an injury occurs. For example, other risk factors of osteoarthritis include being overweight. Sports can help keep youths’ weight in check and teach them healthy lifestyle habits.

To further reduce the risk of injury, have your kids wear the proper apparel and equipment. For instance, knee pads may prevent a serious knee injury in bicycling or roller derby. Even the right kind of socks can help.

More on Sports Socks

Sports socks in general cut down on blisters, infections, moisture and foot odors. They may also help with blood flow and muscle recovery after intense exercise and after injuries. The socks actually play a role in injury prevention because they minimize impact and pressure.

For example, high-quality socks keep softball players’ feet from getting covered in gravel. They also protect their feet from some of the pressure that comes from running on uneven surfaces. Likewise, high socks can absorb some of the shocks from cheerleaders’ jumps and other high-impact activities. Check out our sports socks offerings today.

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