4 Most Common Surgical Injuries in Youth Sports
The mental and physical health benefits of being active greatly outweigh the risks, but athletes should always take precautions to prevent injuries whenever possible. We spoke to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Armin Tehrany about the most common sports injuries that require surgery and how to prevent them.
Shoulder Dislocations1 of 5
Football is the most common sport to suffer a shoulder dislocation due to the contact nature of the sport. With kids that have excessive generalized laxity (loose ligaments), I recommend a Sulley brace under the jersey to provide additional stability to prevent dislocation.
Multiple studies suggest that children that play sports and sustain a shoulder dislocation should have arthroscopic shoulder reconstruction. Occasionally, open surgery may be required depending on the severity of the injury and the skill level of the surgeon.
SLAP (Superior Labral Tear)2 of 5
The SLAP tear is most commonly seen in baseball players, especially pitchers. A specific shoulder-stretching program that includes "sleeper stretches" can significantly reduce the likelihood of a SLAP tear as well as other injuries.
The current best method of treatment in youth athletes for a SLAP tear is arthroscopic surgical repair.
Meniscus Tear3 of 5
Meniscus tears are most common in football and basketball. Proper stretching and strength conditioning that provides balanced musculature may help prevent meniscus tears.
Treatment of the meniscus tear in youths depends on the type and location of the tear. Some tears that are associated with ACL tears and are stable can be left alone. Most tears that are complete are either repaired or trimmed out with arthroscopic surgery.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tears4 of 5
ACL tears occur most commonly in football. There are excellent studies that suggest that specific ACL prevention programs that include plyometrics can significantly reduce the incidence of ACL tears.
An ACL tear suffered in youth sports requires arthroscopic surgical reconstruction for all complete and some partial tears. A variety of ACL graft options exist, the most common of which are patellar tendon and hamstring autograft (using the person's own tissue). Both graft types have similar success rates, and my preference is patellar tendon. Allograft, which is human cadaver tissue, is no longer recommended for people under the age of 25.
Dr. Armin Tehrany, orthopedic surgeon, shoulder & knee specialist, and founder of Manhattan Orthopedic Care.