The Top 10 Sports Musculoskeletal Sports Injury list is a ranking that I'm guessing most athletes don't want to make, and most parents don't want to miss.
How to best know if you belong on this list?
Trust your finger tips.
Speaking at the 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics National Convention and Exhibition, I was asked along with good friend and colleague Hank Chambers to share insight on identifying and managing the Top 10 Pediatric Sports Musculoskeletal Injuries with a Case-Based Review.
Our Top 10 aptly started at the top of the body (neck) and ran down to the bottom (foot/ankle) with several injuries in between.
We looked at:
- shoulder pain
- elbow injuries
- wrist injuries
- low back pain
- hamstring avulsion injuries
- acute knee injuries
- shin pain
- ankle sprains
- heel pain in growing children.
Some were fairly serious and activity threatening, others were more of a nuisance.
A pretty diverse offering of injuries, so one would tend to think that there would be little that actually brings them together.
However, for those listening to the talk, they heard us mention a similar refrain over and over again.
The value of your finger tip.
In helping to determine a type of pain that merits medical attention in the first place, and helps sort out the particular diagnosis, the more localized the pain, the greater the potential concern.
For example,. if a child is reporting pain in the lower leg and uses a wave of the hand to indicate that the discomfort runs along the entire inner shin, then there is one level of concern.
However, if that same child takes the tip of their index finger and points directly and emphatically to a single spot on the inside of the shin bone, my concern is amped up several degrees.
While none of us have x-ray vision, that finding of finger-tip pain is a pretty good surrogate and does tend to correlate with a higher potential of a bone injury, be it a fracture, stress injury, or damage to a apophysis where a tendon attaches to a bone growth region.
So, no matter the body part, from elbow to wrist to foot or ankle, if any young athlete opts to use a finger tip to identify their pain, then use your finger tips to dial up your sports medicine specialist and seek out immediate and appropriate evaluation.