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The Pain Fields

Upper body injuries strike teens hardest in sports games

SATURDAY, April 3, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Sports injuries send more than 775,000 youngsters to the hospital every year, reports the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. And upper body injuries account for many of these visits to the emergency room.

The most common upper body injuries in teens are sprains, strains, growth plate injuries and repetitive motion injuries, according to Rice University in Texas. Because children are still growing, they're more susceptible to injury than adults are.

Muscle strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon, while a sprain means you've injured a ligament, either by stretching or tearing it. Growth plate injuries can occur in any of the long bones of the body. Growth plates are at the end of these bones in the fingers, collarbone, outer forearm, as well as in bones in the lower body. As you age, the growth plates harden and become bone, but until then, they're more vulnerable to injury.

Repetitive motion injuries occur when the same type of motion is performed over and over again. Tennis elbow is an example of a repetitive motion injury. Stress fractures are also a form of repetitive motion injury, and according to a study from Ohio State University, these injuries are underdiagnosed.

To prevent injuries in your young athletes, make sure they play by the rules, wear proper protective gear, warm up before playing and stop when they're tired and that they are in proper physical condition for whatever sport they choose.

More information

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases offers this advice for preventing injury in children.

SOURCES: Rice University; American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Ohio State University press release; The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
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