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Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida - Orthopedics

Orthopedic Injuries in Youth Common, Treatable

Pediatrics: Mending Broken Elbows Whether it's jumping out of a tree or a game of contact sports, children sometimes experience orthopedic injuries. After their initial treatment from an orthopedic physician, many children work with a physical therapist to regain their strength and mobility, and get back to their favorite sports or activities.

Physical therapist, Lee Spilman, specializes in pediatric and adolescent injuries. Common injuries include knee sprains, ACL tears, shoulder dislocations, various fractures, and orthopedic issues like cervical or lumbar spine pain, scoliosis and extremity pain.

"Because my practice is on physical therapy for kids with orthopedic issues, the treatment is quite similar to adult therapy, with some minor exceptions," Lee says. "The biggest difference is the presence of growth plate injuries in children and early teens due to the fact that they are still skeletally immature. My patient population also pushes me to be more creative with their specific exercises to make sure that they are ready to return to whatever sport or recreational activity they enjoy."

Some of the injuries Lee treats are preventable, while others are not. "Due to the contact nature of sports, such as football, injuries are going to happen, but we can strengthen the body to limit any potential injuries from occurring," Lee says. "I think the biggest issue is the lack of education to parents and children/teens about the importance of routine stretching and core/hip strengthening. I would encourage parents to research appropriate stretches for their children for their specific sports, as well as speak with their family doctor, orthopedic doctor or a physical therapist about appropriate core strengthening."

One of Lee's recent patients is recovering after being struck by a car. He suffered a fractured right femur with multiple other injuries. "He started physical therapy by utilizing a rolling walker because he had severely limited right knee motion," Lee says. "He has worked hard through a lot of pain and is now walking without any assistive device and is close to regaining his knee flexion mobility. We still have a lot of work yet to do, but he is highly motivated toward his goal of playing football for his high school next year."

“Due to the contact nature of sports, such as football, injuries are going to happen, but we can strengthen the body to limit any potential injuries from occurring,” says physical therapist, Lee Spilman.

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