Taking Care Of Your Children This Holiday Season

By Mount Elizabeth Hospital

Photo credits: USAG - Humphreys on Flickr

Why running can be risky business
Sports injuries account for a quarter of all injuries to children and adolescents, and the incidence is on the rise due to increasing participation in sports at all ages. More corporate runs for young ones are now available, such as Cold Storage Kids Run which took place in May 2015 and POSB Passion Run For Kids in September 2015. To prevent sports injuries, athletes, coaches and parents must be educated with regard to the specific requirements of the sport and the risks involved.

As more children are becoming involved in organised and recreational athletics, we see more and more injuries due to overuse. Many children participate in sports year-round and sometimes are even on multiple teams simultaneously. This overtraining can lead to overuse injuries, which may have a detrimental effect on the health of the child. This is ironic given that participating in sports should be a lifelong healthy activity!

Types of Sports Injuries
While running may not be a contact sport, the activity still poses injury risks for kids. The most common running injuries are strains or sprains to the lower extremities, including the ankle, foot and knee. Injuries involving falls are more likely to result in fractures, lacerations and soft tissue injuries.

Most orthopaedic injuries are treated successfully with rest, ice, compression, elevation, anti-inflammatory medication or physical therapy. Children with sports injuries from activities such as running, rugby, basketball, and ballet are frequently seen in the clinic. Overuse may result in stress fractures of the bones. The child might have to wear a brace, boot or cast while the injury heals. Acute injuries such as tendonitis may benefit from injections into the injured area to reduce inflammation and reduce pain. Occasionally with a fracture or torn ligament, surgery is necessary.

Injury prevention includes proper training, such as stretching and varying workouts. This is key to preventing many orthopaedic injuries.

Another less known sport injury is heat-related disorders. Children who are getting overheated may look flushed or feel lightheaded. Heat exhaustion can cause dry mouth, fatigue, a decrease in performance level or attention span and excessive sweatiness. If not treated quickly, and the internal temperature of the body reaches dangerously high levels (40.5°C and higher), it can progress to heatstroke. Heatstroke requires immediate emergency medical care and can be fatal.

When humidity is high, sweat can’t evaporate. That prevents the body from cooling. Instead of constantly reaching for that towel to dry off, let sweat evaporate naturally to help your body cool down.

Photo credits: USAG - Humphreys on Flickr

Run Smart with these Tips!
Lightweight, breathable clothing prevents perspiration build up and allows for better body heat regulation
- Running hats, head covers, and ear covers shield from the sun but allow temperature regulation
- Proper fit and appropriate thickness of socks help avoid blisters and irritation
- Proper shoes with good support arches should fit well and be comfortable
- Inspect your running shoes. If they have worn thin or are angled, purchase new shoes.
- Orthotic shoe inserts (commercial off-the-shelf or custom-made) are especially valuable for people with flat feet, high-arched feet or foot problems
- Use a supportive ankle brace for unstable ankles
- Hydrate well in advance
- Stretch for five minutes before starting your run and incorporate a cool-down stretching routine at the end of it
- Increase your running speed slowly and maintain a comfortable running speed throughout


Dr Siow Hua Ming is an Orthopaedic Surgeon in Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital and Mount Elizabeth Hospital. 

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