When our children are very small, and learning to become increasingly mobile, they take many tumbles. With each, they may shed a few tears to let us know “Hey! Something hurts!” Because this is the norm for a few years, we may instinctively expect that our older child will continue to express issues freely. If something hurts, in fact, the verbally expressive child will have even more ways to help us out when it comes to understanding just what has happened, or what is wrong. It would seem logical that a child would tell us, right? Not necessarily! There are several reasons why you need to talk with your child early, before an injury may occur, about expressing pain.
A Primary Issue
Think of your innate inclination to push yourself. If your muscles are sore, but you have committed to learning a new sport or hitting the gym, you “suck it up” and just keep going.
A youngster who has developed a love of any particular sport will be no different. This becomes especially relevant for the older athlete who is competitive; who doesn’t want to let a coach of family member down, who doesn’t want to let the team down. For these reasons and many others, a competitive child athlete may keep quiet about pain.
A Secondary Issue
Let’s just be honest; most kids don’t relish the idea of being in a cast, or of visiting an orthopedic surgeon to find out if surgery may be needed! The fear of what they may be told comes in a close second to the issue of being benched, even for a short time.
How to Help your Child
The fact of the matter is, you may need to help your child in the area of expression. In many instances, sports injuries start small. The athlete may feel a little sore or stiff. These symptoms could get worse with every pitch, every hit, every sprint. Playing through the pain is a direct path toward an overuse injury.
Because it can be so difficult for a child to tell a coach, or anyone else, that they are not feeling in tip-top playing shape, it is necessary for parents to have an Eagle Eye when it comes to their players. Look for signs such as limited movement, or rubbing of a certain area, such as the shoulder. Additionally, parents need to ask and listen. It is vital that kids understand that winning is not the end-goal and that they are good enough just by showing up. The more a child understands this from a parent or loved one, the more apt he or she will be to open up if a painful situation occurs.
Does your child need care for an injury? Advanced Orthopedics has three NJ offices to assist you. Call (973) 942-1315.