Team sports offer many benefits to young athletes – the regular physical activity helps to improve muscular strength, endurance, and can support a healthy weight. Kids in sports also learn about good sportsmanship, goal setting, and how to prioritize & manage their time.
But when choosing team sports – parents and kids need to also consider the relative risk of injuries associated with each chosen sport.
Certain sports come with a higher risk for acute injuries – which generally happen as a result of some impact or force. For example, contact and high impact sports like football, tend to come with a higher risk for a broken bone or concussion than non-contact sports.
If your child or teen is participating in a sport that comes with a higher risk of acute injuries – it is important to make sure that they are doing age-appropriate exercises to strengthen their muscles & bones. It is also important to support their bones with a healthy diet and/or high quality supplements – read this article: Got Fractures? for more information about building healthy & strong bones in kids.
Another type of injuries that can happen – are chronic injuries – which are generally linked to repetitive use – such as tennis elbow, swimmer or pitchers’ shoulder, and shin splints.
The question is – why does one person end up with tennis elbow, while her tennis partner – who plays the same amount of tennis – does not? One thing to consider/rule out is poor form. Another contributing factor could be overtraining. But one commonality in most chronic injuries is….
A critical part of the healing process – inflammation is part of the body’s natural response to an insult or injury. For example, if you hit your head, inflammation will cause the injury site to swell and bruise. Suffering from a cold – your nose will likely swell up and get red. Cut yourself? Inflammation floods the area with white blood cells, and helps to prevent infection. In these scenarios, inflammation is generally short-lived. It helps with the healing process, and when the area is healed, the inflammation generally will “turn off.” But sometimes this process can go a little haywire, and the inflammation becomes chronic and systemic. This is when inflammation switches from healing to harm.
What causes inflammation to get out of control?
There are a number of dietary factors that can lead to systemic & chronic inflammation:
Healing Overuse Injuries:
Athletes that are dealing with chronic pain should use RICE to help deal with the symptoms:
Using a topical arnica gel or cream can also help to reduce pain & soreness.
Making some simple changes to the diet can also help to reduce the root cause of systemic inflammation:
Some other manifestations of chronic inflammation include autoimmune diseases, arthritis, allergies, asthma, as well as chronic aches and pains. Labeled “The Secret Killer” by Time Magazine, chronic inflammation not only causes pain and swelling – it is associated with an increased risk of most non-communicable diseases – including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and even dementia and Alzheimer’s. So getting to the root of the cause of that painful swimmer’s shoulder or tennis elbow may actually reduce an athlete’s risk of disease later in life.
Reduce Inflammation to Protect the Brain, Dr. Perlmutter
Vitamin D is a Powerful Anti-Inflammatory, Byron J. Richards, CCN
Greater Magnesium Associated with Reduced Inflammation, LEF
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Article written by Nutritionist Sara Vance, author of the book The Perfect Metabolism Plan A regular guest on Fox 5 San Diego, you can see many of Sara’s segments on her media page. She also offers corporate nutrition, school programs, consultations, and affordable online eCourses. Download her free 40+ page Metabolism Jumpstart eBook here.
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