STAMFORD, Conn. -- As always, when young athletes get back on the field this fall, sports injuries are a common concern. Below, Hospital for Special Surgery's Dr. Daniel Green answers your questions about youth sports injuries.
My 15-year-old son plays football and one of his teammates injured his shoulder. Is it common for adolescents to get shoulder surgery for major injuries?
Shoulder injuries in teenagers are common and can vary greatly. Clavicle or collarbone fractures are especially common and many injuries can be treated conservatively so the patient can get back on the football field within 4-6 weeks. Only severe cases require surgical intervention.
I read that vitamin D can help reduce the risk of a stress fractures in girls. How much vitamin D do girls need to take daily?
For kids and adolescents with stress fractures, HSS conducts a blood test to check for vitamin D levels. For those with low levels, we usually prescribe high doses of vitamin D. Depending on the situation, adolescents should get between 600-1,000 units a day. Kids and adolescents can get vitamin D through sun exposure as well as drinking fortified milk.
How do you treat ACL tears in children?
Complete ACL tears in active children can lead to the development of other joint injuries such as meniscus tears or articular cartilage injuries. ACL reconstructive surgery can be performed safely in children without disruption to the surrounding growth plates though. The surgical treatment principles for children are very similar to those in adults, but with additional precautions to minimize change or damage to growth plates.
How long does it take for a muscle sprain to heal in children under the age of 10?
Typically, mild muscle sprains or contusions can heal within a week. Children experiencing severe or prolonged episodes of pain for more than a week should be evaluated by a physician to rule out other types of injury. Similar to adults, children should rest, apply ice and compression, stretch and consider physical therapy.
My nine-year-old daughter broke her leg while playing soccer. Will this injury affect her growth?
Leg fractures can involve growth plates and also occur outside of growth plates. Lower extremity fractures with growth plates aren’t uncommon and 20-30 percent of such fractures can lead to growth arrest. If this occurs, physicians typically develop a surgical plan to correct the problem.
Dr. Daniel Green is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery and director of the Pediatric Sports Program for the Division of Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery. He practices at both the HSS Outpatient Center in Stamford and the hospital’s main campus in New York.