For a lot of families, back to school also means back to sports! Whether your young athlete is just gearing up for their first soccer season or has their eyes set on a new school record, it’s important they learn how to prevent injuries, and to know how to recognize injuries now so they don’t snowball into bigger issues later on. We talked to Dr. Benjamin Domb, M.D., the founder, Medical Director and an Orthopedic Surgeon at American Hip Institute (AHI) for tips on how to keep your kids safe this sports season, and what to do if you’re concerned they may have an injury.

The Chicago-based American Hip Institute pioneers the most advanced, non-invasive medical solutions for hip pain. Learn more about AHI or schedule a consultation here!

With sports season starting up again, what tips do you have for reducing the risk of injury while training?

While school and sports look differently this year, it’s important for young athletes to maintain a regular training program—whether with their team or on their own at home. Most importantly, ease in! One of the greatest risks of injury is when returning to a sport that you haven’t played for a while. Many sports have been on hold for some time during the pandemic, so make sure your young athlete trains properly and recovers properly as they get back to those sports. It’s also critical to warm up and stretch before you play—every time!

When going back to their sport, make sure they don’t push the limits immediately. For the first few weeks of getting back to the sport, go at 80%, then 90%, before getting back to 100%.

Some exercises youth athletes can do to stay limber and be less injury-prone include stretching your hip flexors and glutes. The hips are one of the most common sources of injury when you’re out of condition and returning to a sport. Stretch them by doing a “runners lunge”, which is a lunge with one foot behind you in one foot in front of you, and gently pushing your hips forward until you feel tension in your hip flexors—near where your leg meets your hip!

If my child is having discomfort in their hips, how do I know when it’s a serious problem, and that they should be seen by a specialist?

When there is pain in the hip, or hip area, that lasts into the evening or the next day after physical activity, it’s time to see a hip specialist. Even if it’s minor discomfort, don’t ignore the pain. Recognizing an issue early may enable a hip specialist to fix the problem before it becomes too serious and can help your family avoid surgery.

There are three main reasons that hip injuries occur: acute injuries during contact sports, chronic overuse of injuries and hip diseases that become symptomatic in teenage years.

Diagnosing a hip injury is a specific field of expertise and needs a hip specialist, since the specific examinations and imaging required are not common in general medicine.

Are there any other symptoms that typically accompany hip injuries?

Some of the signs of hip injuries include pain in the groin or hip flexor, pain radiating down the thigh or shin, pain with resting or prolonged sitting or pain with pivoting or rotation. Your child may also have a hip issue if they’re in pain during their sports (or after practices!) or if they’re noticing catching, locking or popping in their hip. Walking is often not painful with hip injuries but running may be.

The Chicago-based American Hip Institute pioneers the most advanced, non-invasive medical solutions for hip pain. Learn more about AHI or schedule a consultation here!

If I bring my child in to have their hip pain assessed, what does an appointment look like?

Our team at the American Hip Institute is made up of world-class orthopedic surgeons who treat every patient like a professional athlete, supporting them from the first appointment through recovery. An appointment starts with a comprehensive examination by a Hip Specialist and specialized imaging which is unique to the American Hip Institute.  During this comprehensive visit, it is our mission that every patient comes away with a diagnosis and treatment plan suited to their goals.

While a lot has changed due to COVID-19, what hasn’t changed is our commitment to the safety of our patients and staff. Appointments look a little different in this day and age, but families can feel confident knowing AHI is stringently following federal and state guidelines as the crisis continues. Our office remains open and operating on a spaced schedule to provide in-person care, in addition to virtual appointments.

After booking an appointment, here’s what families can expect:

  • Chairs in waiting room are socially distanced, but patients are asked to arrive no more than 15 minutes early.
  • Family of patients must stay outside of the facility during surgery. However, minors are allowed to bring one guest.
  • During the appointment, the physician, patient and guest must wear masks.
  • If surgery is required, patients must take a COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to surgery, then self-isolate until the day of surgery.

Regardless of this “new normal,” we ensure the human element is never lost and patients receive the best care and experience.

What does treatment look like for most hip pain in kids? Will they need surgery?

In most cases, our first aim is to help our patients avoid surgery. Advanced techniques such as cell therapy and specialized physical therapy can help return our patients to their active lives.

When surgery is required, the American Hip Institute procedures are the least invasive and most successful procedures available. In most cases, we are able to fix the problems through keyhole incisions of less than one centimeter, with a minimally invasive procedure that gets patients home the same day and on a stationary bike by the next day. 

Our proven success rates give patients comfort that they will be on a rapid road to recovery. After surgery, our unique physical therapy protocols facilitate rapid return to activities and sports.

The Chicago-based American Hip Institute pioneers the most advanced, non-invasive medical solutions for hip pain. Learn more about AHI or schedule a consultation here!

About Dr. Domb
Dr. Benjamin Domb, M.D., Founder, Medical Director & Orthopedic Surgeon at American Hip Institute & Orthopedic Specialists, is on a mission to cure hip pain by pioneering the most advanced, comprehensive and non-invasive medical solutions. Based in Chicago, AHI offers a range of cutting-edge techniques in Hip Arthroscopy, Robotics, Resurfacing, and Regenerative Medicine. For more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Domb at American Hip Institute & Orthopedic Specialists, visit: americanhipinstitute.com.