Posts Tagged 'exercise'

Helping your child recover from a sports injury

soccer injury

Kids will be kids. That’s what they say, right? Unfortunately with kids playing sports at the level they do today, we have to deal with cuts, scrapes and bruises, but now also orthopedic sports injuries. Some of these require emergency room (ER) visits and doctor follow ups, but many of them can be healed at home with proper immediate care and a good recovery plan.

In this article, we talk about home recovery from mild sports injuries. It’s important to note that anytime there is concern about a broken bone, uncontrolled bleeding, head injury, or infection (such as tetanus), you should see a doctor right away, often at your local ER or urgent care center.

The first step is calming the pain and inflammation after injury. When the body is injured, swelling occurs from the inflammatory process the body elicits to prevent further damage to tissues; when swelling is high, pain usually follows quickly. We use the R.I.C.E. protocol to reduce and control this process, which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. Usually the rest, ice and elevation all happen together—for example stopping soccer practice to place ice on your ankle while elevating it above your heart. The elevation above the heart level, which usually requires lying down, allows gravity to help move the swelling back toward the heart, doubling the effect.

Compression (e.g., wrapping an ACE bandage around the ankle) occurs after the icing and prevents more swelling from occurring. Icing should be done no more than 10–15 minutes at a time and always with a barrier between ice and skin. Fun fact: Ice can burn the skin as easily as heat! Anti-inflammatory medication is also an option to reduce inflammation, but always at the recommendation of a physician to ensure the proper dosing and safety for your child.

After the swelling and pain are reduced, your child may be itching to return to his or her sport, but it’s important to have a slow return back to full performance to allow for greatest potential of no reoccurrence or reinjury. This may be participating in only practice with the ability to take a break if pain returns, staying away completely and doing exercises at home, and/or coming to physical therapy in addition to return to sport. Teachers and coaches must be made aware of the injury and should be accommodating to your child during recovery. If your child is too young to understand his limits or her coach is pressuring without accommodating, then you, as a parent, must take charge of your child’s recovery and keep away from the sport for extra time. When our muscles are working at only 50 or 60 percent, they are more susceptible to additional injuries from overworking or incorrect form. Taking extra time away and addressing the targeted area allows muscles to recover fully before being asked to perform at a high level.

So how do I know what to do for my child? For a complex injury or if you really are clueless, that is what your local physical therapist is for! Depending on the severity of the injury, your child may need to see a specialized sports medicine doctor, but we can evaluate your child and create a specific exercise program in just a few sessions. Sometimes three or four sessions to watch the healing and learn some exercises is all it takes. However if we identify fundamental issues that may have contributed to the injury, therapy may continue for a while. Remember, often kids listen better to instruction coming from someone other than mom or dad.

A good start on a minor injury is to exercise that body part starting with non-weight-bearing (called open-chain in rehab world) and progressing to weight-bearing (called closed-chain). For hand and upper extremity injuries, children should start with no weight and slowly add weight or resistance. Please keep in mind that pre-pubescent children should never perform heavy or repeated weight lifting, due to the integrity of growth plates.

So now that your child is ready to return to her activity, remember slow and steady wins the race! The hardest thing to do is hold back, but often times injuries feel fine with day-to-day work and we aren’t truly sure of where our healing is until it is tested. Not to mention, after a break from working out, everything is a little rusty and just like we need to work back up slowly to full strength, so do our children.

For any other questions or if you feel your child needs a skilled evaluation for his injury, give us a call at any of our Center for Children’s Rehabilitation locations in Grosse Pointe, Royal Oak, Macomb, and West Bloomfield.

– Lauren Sofen, PT, DPT, PCS, Physical Therapist, Beaumont Health Center/Neighborhood Club

Safety on the slopes

Boy sledding wearing a helmet

Sledding is a great way to stay active during the time of year that most people tend to stay indoors. In order to keep safe on the slopes, review tips before you head out the door.

  • Bundle up! Here are some tips on how to prevent hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Encourage taking some breaks to warm up and also stay hydrated.
  • Choose a designated sledding hill that is free of trees and away from busy roads.
  • Helmets should be worn by all children under the age of 12. Ideally this would be a helmet specifically designed for winter sports, but a bicycle helmet could be used as well.
  • Discourage riding head first on a sled. Always have your child sit forward facing.
  • Teach kids to keep their arms and legs inside the sled and if they should fall out, move out of the path of others.
  • Never use a motorized vehicle to pull a sled. The most severe sledding injuries we’ve seen at our trauma center were caused by this mechanism.
  • Make sure someone has a cell phone if there is a need to call for help. If your older children are going alone, talk to them about situations that would warrant calling 911, for example a neck injury requiring immobilization of the spine.

– Erica Surman, RN, BSN, Pediatric Trauma Program Manager, Beaumont Health System

Yoga Moms prenatal yoga

Pregnant mom doing yoga meditation

Cropped image. Randy Pantouw, Flickr. CC license.

In honor of National Yoga Month, we are highlighting Beaumont’s prenatal yoga program, Yoga Moms.

If you’re expecting a baby, prenatal yoga can be a great way to relax, stay fit and prepare for birth. Studies have suggested that prenatal yoga may:

  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce stress
  • Decrease swelling
  • Encourage socialization and support with other expectant moms
  • Increase strength and flexibility of the muscles needed for birth
  • Decrease low back pain, nausea, headaches and shortness of breath
  • Decrease the risk of pregnancy induced hypertension

Beaumont’s Community Health Education Department offers Yoga Moms at SOLA Life and Fitness in Rochester Hills and the Beverly Hills Club in Southfield. The six-week class series is taught by certified yoga instructors. Classes include breathing, gentle stretching, postures and relaxation. The class is recommended for any stage of pregnancy, with physician approval.

For more information or to register, visit Yoga Moms or call 800-633-7377.

Summertime Outdoor Exploration

Little girl using sidewalk chalk

Unaltered image by Eric Baum. CC license.

Outdoor fun can be a great learning experience as children gain many experiences by playing outside. Encouraging outside play incorporates important aspects of your child’s growth and development, including balance; coordination; strengthening; range of motion; eye, hand, and foot coordination; and sensory awareness. These areas promote continued gross and fine mo­tor achievement.

There are many types of outdoor activities to choose from, including:

  • Water play: Swimming, water toys, sprinklers, water balloons.
  • Outdoor games: Hopscotch, jump roping, playing catch, kicking a ball, jumping.
  • Wheeled toys: Tricycles and bicycles, scooters, roller skates, rollerblades.
  • Play structure activities: Slides, monkey bars, swings, climbing walls.
  • Outdoor opportunities: Sand, mud, grass, drawing with sidewalk chalk, walking on uneven surfaces and textures, walking on curbs, hiking in the woods.
  • Fun walking activities. Skipping, galloping, running, marching, walking on toes or heels, and going for a walk.

These simple and fun ideas lay a strong foundation for your child’s sensory, gross and fine motor development. These activities are also an excellent opportunity for the family to get some exercise and spend time together.

It’s important to make time to play with your child. Always remember safety awareness, including sunscreen, bug repellent, helmets for wheeled toy activities and adult supervision.

Be safe and have fun!

– Amanda Froling, MPT, Beaumont Pediatric Rehabilitation

Good Fit, Safe Ride

Boy Riding a Bike

image credit: Michael Bentley

Spring is off to a chilly and damp start, but warmer weather has to be around the corner, right? As the weather improves and the bikes, scooters and other riding toys get dusted off, it’s important to remember that your children need to wear properly fitting helmets every time.

Safe Kids Worldwide has a three-step helmet fit test:

  1. Eyes: Put the helmet on your head. Look up. You should see the bottom rim of the helmet. The rim should be one or two finger-widths about the eyebrows.
  2. Ears: Make sure the straps form a “V” under the ears when buckled. The straps should be a little tight but comfortable.
  3. Mouth: Open your mouth as wide as you can. Does the helmet hug your head? If not, tighten the straps.

You can watch a video of that three-step test, too.

Other important things to remember:

  • Take the time to make sure the helmet fits your child correctly when you purchase it; don’t buy a helmet for your child to “grow into.”
  • Children grow quickly so check the fit of the helmet each time your child goes out.
  • Helmets and playgrounds don’t mix. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns that there’s a “hidden hazard of strangulation if a child wears a helmet while playing on playgrounds.”
  • Children learn from example, so wear your helmet, too!

Use the Snow to Work on Motor Skills

sleddingIt’s cold and snowy during Michigan winters. Here are some great ideas to get your family moving and your kids working on improving their motor skills.

An outside snowy day is the perfect place to play. Getting ready for snow fun can be both challenging and rewarding. Putting on the snowpants, snugging the straps, pulling on the boots, zipping up the coat, placing the hat on, and finding just the right spot for your thumb in the mittens are all fine motor and body awareness skills children can achieve when given the time and the incentive. A  little help may be needed  for the youngest ones.

Once out the door in all the layers, a whole snow filled playground awaits in the yard. Running with boots on, wow that’s hard work! Check out the snow, is the snow soft, crunchy, wet, flaky, good for packing, or powdery?


  • Make a snow angel, that’s exercise, now try to get up without squashing the angel. Does it look like you?
  • Ready to make a snowman? Pack a snowball tight, now roll and roll, keep pushing it, use your arm, trunk, and leg strength. Now make 2 more and ask mom or dad to put them on top.  Find  some coal for eyes and a carrot for the nose and you have the perfect snowman.
  • Make a footprint path in the snow for your friends and parents to follow. Take big steps and small steps, jump with 2 feet. Try out some snow shoes, that will make walking a bit more challenging.
  • Play games outside. Hide and seek, red rover, red light- green light, kick ball, hockey, football or baseball can all be fun in the snow.
  • Ready for sledding?  Younger children enjoy being pulled on a sled, while the older ones seek the hills. Sledding down and climbing back up over and over builds great strength and endurance. No hills in your yard? Not a problem. Pack some snow and make your own hills. Children can pull each other on sleds for a good workout. Let your  imagination take over and be creative.
  • Build a fort, shovel a path, look for animal tracks, or make animal tracks, these are all ways to enjoy being outside.
  • Are you ready for more adventure?  Go ice skating.  Many rinks have open skate. Rental skates are often available and they may also provide plastic PVC walkers for children to help with balance. Bring your own bike or skating helmet with you. Ice skating is fun and challenging. It incorporates balance, coordination, and strength. Children about 3 years old can really start to enjoy skating, they don’t have far to fall and they will enjoy the quick progress they will make.
  • How about a skiing trip? Many places have equipment rental and lessons for the whole family. And they often have adapted equipment so that even members of the family with physical challenges can participate. Skiing is great for strength, balance and endurance. And just pure family fun.


After such and exciting day the kids will climb out of the layers of clothing, pile up the boots, and are ready for a snack. Soup or hot chocolate are just perfect to warm up all over. Expect your kids to go to bed early after such a fun and exhausting day.

–Amanda Froling, MPT and Carol L. Julien-Buell, MPT, Beaumont Hospital

Fall Outdoors: Healthy Autumn Activities To Get Your Whole Family Moving


With a scorching summer finally behind us and a typical Michigan winter just around the corner, fall is the ideal season for families to get outdoors. Whether you’re looking to instill healthy habits in your children or are simply looking for a fun physical activity with a touch of adventure, autumn in Michigan offers plenty of opportunities for adults and kids to have a great time while exercising. Put on your shoes, grab your favorite scarf, and try out these mild-weather, family friendly activities.

  1. Hiking. With walking becoming a more popular form of exercise, taking the family out for a hike shouldn’t be overlooked. There are many beautiful places in Metro Detroit that offer miles of trails and the chance to spot wildlife at little or no cost, many of which also include educational nature centers. For close-to-home hikes, consider Stony Creek Metropark or any of the 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks at which admission is only $7 per vehicle, per day. Pack a lunch, put on your pedometer, and hit the trail for a low cost exercise adventure. Bonus: the kids can be as loud as they want.
  2. Family Fun Runs/Walks. We all know that person who has at some point decided to dedicate their time to training for and participating in a race event such as a 5K, 10K, or half marathon. This may be a fitness goal you have for yourself as well, but have difficulty fitting in with the responsibilities of family life. These days, however, many of these events are designed with parents- and their children- in mind. Themed races that allow participants to walk the courses, such as the Color Run race series, or events that pair shorter distances with typical race lengths, such as Detroit’s own Turkey Trot, which offers the Mashed Potato Mile fun run for children under 12, are festive options for families. Bonus: many race events also have a charity component that benefits the community.
  3. Pumpkin picking. Between long walks and heavy lifting, pumpkin picking is better than a trip to the gym. Soak up some autumn sunshine and flex your muscles by helping your kids pick out the best pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns, pies, and soups. There are several pumpkin patches throughout Oakland County, as well as surrounding counties, that are open on weekends and may also offer apple picking. One option is Stony Creek Orchard and Cider Mill in Romeo. Bonus: Teach kids about cooking and healthy eating by sacrificing one pumpkin for kitchen fun!
  4. Leaf collecting. The changing colors are one of the best parts of autumn in Michigan. Younger children will enjoy this easy and old-fashioned activity while spending time outdoors moving around and investigating the world they live in. The concept is simple: examine the fallen leaves, find the prettiest or most interesting ones, repeat. Help your kids to find leaves in every color, shape, or size, and then let them save their favorites by pressing the leaves between wax paper. Bonus: this activity is free!

Enjoyable fall exercise is never hard to find. It’s as simple as taking walk with your children or teaching them that football isn’t just a game played on television. Head outdoors this season for a healthier body, mind, and heart!

—Hannah Borland, Beaumont Parenting Program Volunteer


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