What does your child playing field hockey have to do with arthritis? Although there appears to be no connection between a young healthy child and arthritis, new research shows us that injuries associated with sports may be linked to the onset of arthritis later in life. If your child receives some kind of sports injury, researchers say, he or she may be more at risk of developing serious arthritis problems much later in life. With well over a half million children treated each year in emergency rooms for sports injury-related problems, the potential for problems that may develop later in life looms large.
In most cases, sports related injuries that are treated in emergency cases are not very serious. About two-thirds of all children treated in emergency rooms receive minor sprains or injuries. Approximately five percent of all sports injuries account for broken bones or severe fractures. As with so many conditions and injuries, the best medicine is prevention. Make sure your child has received proper training with sports equipment prior to regular participation. Ensure that adult supervision is always present in case of an emergency. Speak to your child about the seriousness of sports related injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most of these sports related injuries are the result of football, baseball, basketball or soccer. If your child suffers from some kind of sports injury, care should be taken even after a full recovery has been made. It appears that sports injury can greatly increase a person’s risk of developing some kind of arthritis. The most prevalent threat is osteoarthritis. Studies have shown that even a single injury can put a person at five times more risk of developing osteoarthritis later in adulthood. A childhood hip injury can, according to studies, put an individual at three times the risk of developing hip-related osteoarthritis problems in later life.
Children are not the only one’s at risk. Any sports related injury incurred at a young age can put one at grater risk for osteoarthritis and other forms of arthritis. For instance, it was found that young people who participate in high intensity sports or physical activities are more likely of developing the symptoms of arthritis, even as early as their 30s or 40s. Osteoarthritis is present when the joint’s cartilage begins to wear away, causing the joint to lose its natural cushioning. This can result in significant pain, stiffness, and may put an individual at a greater risk of injury. With over 21 million Americans suffering from osteoarthritis, it is estimated that this number will steadily increase as the baby boomer generation ages. In fact, osteoarthritis is now considered to be the number one source of all disability in the United States. Sports injury prevention, then, is key in helping stave off this often painful and debilitating condition. Make sure your children wear the proper equipment when playing sports, and protect yourself as well. This small effort is well worth it to prevent a future with osteoarthritis.