Teen Hand & Wrist Sports Injury Risks

School is back in session, and that means Detroit area high schoolers high are back on the playing field and the courts. And while sports are great physical – and teach team building, discipline and leadership – high school athletics can also lead to injuries. Among the most common high school sports injuries are hand and wrist injuries.

Athletic activities are the most common cause of hand and wrist fractures in children and teens. And, relative to all sports-related fractures, broken bones in the hand and wrist require surgery more frequently than fractures in other areas of the body.

Teen Sports Injury – Who Is At Risk

According to a new study recently conducted in the United States, certain sports have a higher risk of high school athlete hand and wrist injuries. The study in Pediatrics reported that contact sports, stick and ball games, and puck activities have high rates of hand and wrist injuries indicating a great need for improved sport-specific prevention protocols.

High school football players suffer the highest risk of sports related hand or wrist injury. Other sports with a high incidence of hand and wrist injury are, in order, lacrosse, field and ice hockey, wrestling, softball and basketball.

The health and socialization benefits of sports for children and teens is undeniable. But hand and wrist injuries comprise a full 17 percent of childhood and adolescent sports injuries.  Experts warn that these type of sports injuries often not only require costly surgery, but also keep youths sidelined from sports, as well as academic actives like writing or typing, for weeks.

Teen Sports Injury Statistics

The study – called the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study – looked at cumulative data from 11 school years, from a large sample of high schools for the academic 2005-2006 through 2015-2016.

The study encompassed 40,195,806 athlete exposures (AEs) during games or practices.  6,723 hand and/or wrist injuries were reported – meaning there was an injury rate of almost 2 injuries per 10,000 AEs.

About half of the hand or wrist sports injuries in the study occurred during games, while the other half occurred during practices. But – since players spend far more time at practices than playing actual games – the injury rates were actually three times higher during games.

During this study 8.5 percent of all reported sports injuries were of the hand or the wrist. As previously stated, the hand/wrist injury rate was highest in football, with 4.3 injuries per 10,000 athlete exposures.  Boys’ lacrosse, softball, wrestling, girls’ field hockey, boys’ ice hockey and girls’ basketball had the next most frequent rates of hand/wrist injury at rates ranging from 1.7 to 1.9 per 10,000 AEs.

Teen Sports Injury by Gender

The study also found that when boys and girls played the same (or similar) sport, the girls’ hand and wrist injury rates were typically higher. The one exception to this finding was lacrosse – in which injury rates for girls were lower than for boys.

Types of Sports Injuries of the Hand & Wrist

In the study, 45% of the hand or wrist injuries were fractures (broken bones) – while 11.6 percent were bruises and 9.0 percent were ligament sprains.

Effects of Sports Injury on Teens

The largest percentage of injured youth athletes returned to playing their sport within a week – in 45.7 of cases. However, 12.4 percent of the injured child and adolescent players were out of the game for three weeks or more. And, in 5.6 percent of injuries medical disqualification for the entire rest of the season occurred.

Of these hand and wrist sports injuries, more than 80& required imaging tests, such as X-rays. And nearly 8 percent of injured youth athletes required surgery.

And, although the rate of hand and wrist youth sports injuries have declined in recent years overall during practice, the study revealed that the rate of sports injuries during actual games has remained constant.

Teen Sports Injury Doctor Macomb County

The study concluded that the prevalence of hand and wrist injuries in teen athletes, coupled with the loss of playing time, burdensome medical costs, and academic challenges means more needs to be done. Working with your team’s coaches and athletic department to identify and implement effective injury prevention programs – including requiring protective gear – is essential.

If you are the parent of a teen who has suffered a sports injury or pain in their fingers, wrist, elbow or arm, contact board certified Macomb County hand surgeon Doctor Rehman for a comprehensive evaluation and consultation. As with most medical conditions, early detection, awareness, and a prevention or treatment plan is the most effective way to ensure that your child heals rapidly – with no long term adverse effects or complications.

Doctor Rehman will assess your high school student’s individual situation, and prescribe the treatments that are best for his or her condition.

Macomb County Teen Sports Injury Doctor: 248.335.2638