How can your Children avoid Knee Sports Injuries in India? Advice for Indian parents |

Children in India these days are increasingly participating in competitive sports. They find in sports, especially the popular ones a career opportunity or a pastime. Sports are a good way of developing comrade ship and leader ship qualities. In the big cities like Chennai, Bangalore, tech Hubs of India, there are many families who have relocated from the United States. Children of such families have been exposed to games like Basketball, soccer, football, baseball, roller and board skating from an early age. Participation in sport is good for the overall development of kids but there is a risk of getting injured. Let us examine the risks from sports and look at the methods of preventing sports injuries.Children in sports are likely to sustain injuries. Most of these are sprains.To quote some statistics from the US,o Nationally, over 775,000 children under age 15 are treated in hospital emergency departments for sports-related injuries each year.o About 80 percent of these injuries are from football, basketball, baseball, or soccer.o Most sports-related injuries in children – about two-thirds of them – are sprains and strains. Only 5 percent of sports injuries involve broken bones.However the trauma of a sports injury does not end with the immediate hospitalization. There may be hidden problems which can surface later. A sports injury in childhood can cause late arthritis in later life. The most serious of these is osteoarthritis. According to one study, a single knee injury early in life can put a child at five times the risk for osteoarthritis in adulthood; likewise a hip injury could more than triple the risk.Fact: Osteoarthritis affects one third of the people with chronic arthritis and joint symptoms. Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of chronic disability in many countries with aging populations. Sports activities are bound to increase in children and adults with abundant leisure time and affluence. Since there is little help from coaches or advice from parents, children are more than likely to suffer from injuries that can be neglected. This puts the child at risk of developing osteoarthritis. Knee osteoarthritis is the commonest arthritis in our country.Knee ligament and cartilage injuries are the commonest joint injuries in sports like football, basketball or soccer.
Ligamentous injuries of the knee are a major cause of secondary osteoarthritis, a variant of osteoarthritis which appears at a much earlier age than arthritis in our grandparents. I have seen in the past few months a handful of children with bony and ligamentous injuries of the knee which has resulted in gross damage. As many people are aware, in Osteoarthritis (OA) the cartilage that cushions a joint is worn away, causing the bones to grind against each other casing pain and stiffness.
The main ligament injury of the knee is an avulsion of the anterior cruciate ligament from its bony attachment at the top of the shinbone (tibia). Earlier it was thought that in children, the attachment of the ligament to the bone gave way earlier before the ligament could tear as in adults. This has not been born out in more and more case reports and my experience as well. So while examining children with knee injuries, it is important to remember that the pattern of injury could resemble an adult type of ACL injury. The growing child’s surgical reconstruction differs slightly from a reconstructive procedure.Kids who play sports will get hurt – that’s a fact. But how can parents and coaches protect kids’ joints, reducing the risk of injury and cutting the chance of developing osteoarthritis later?Preventiono Ensuring that your child has protective gear for that particular sport.o Conditioning and training for a specific sport can ward of injury.o Warming up and cooling down exercises at the beginning and end of the game are vital.o Parents should not be over ambitious and push their kids too much.o Ensure that your kids get the right nutrition.o If you want your kid to develop into a good sports person, get him a good coach.o Older children can localize pain but younger ones can’t. They may just limp or not use the limb. If your kid complains of pain in a joint, or develops a swelling in a joint or limps, consult an orthopaedic surgeon with special interest in paediatric sports injuries.
Protecting your child’s joints from sports injuries should not mean keeping him or her out of sports and stuck in the house. The long-term benefits of sports for children are clear. Exercise is crucial for maintaining proper weight, improving strength and coordination, and building lifelong good health habits early. Emotionally, team sports can help children build social skills and can provide a general sense of well-being.Let them play – but play smart!