Rise of Orthopedic Rehab Specially Geared Towards Children in Response to Increase in Sports Injuries
More than 3.5 million children receive treatment for sports injury annually, with high-school athletes accounting for an estimated 2 million of them. With a growing year-round emphasis on competitive sports – especially single-sport concentration and intense training regimens – medical professionals are seeing more and more musculoskeletal injuries that require surgical intervention. And these kids need rehabilitation to get them back on their feet, but not the same kind of rehab that middle age boomers and seniors are receiving.
In recognition of these children and teen’s needs, hospitals and rehab clinics are stepping up to the plate to create special therapy program that don’t interfere with growing bones and cartilage. According to a recent Wall street Journal article by Laura Landro: “ . . . while adults may lift heavier weights to build muscle during physical therapy, pediatric patients may do higher repetitions with lower resistance to avoid hurting growing bones, muscles and tendons. The programs also offer encouragement and support for kids upset to be sitting out of a beloved sport.”
“In the past we’d put a cast on a broken leg, take it off six to 13 weeks later and send kids home,” says Lyle Micheli, director of Boston Children’s Hospital’s division of sports medicine. “Now we realize we have to very systematically rehabilitate these kids for strength and basic function, and determine when it is safe for them to return to play.”
Since many youngster feel relatively fine a week post-op the minimally invasive anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery, they think they can go right back to the playing field. Usually six months of rehab is necessary before there is complete healing. Pediatric orthopedic surgeon Jeremy Frank works at Memorial Healthcare System’s Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Fla.. Following surgery, he usually sends his young patients to Memorial’s two U-18 (under 18) physical rehabilitation clinics in Coral Springs, Fla., where therapists stress the importance of proper rehab, working in tandem with their clients’ families and coaches.