On the Mend

Appears in the August 2018 issue.

Denise Ibrahim has loved being an orthopedic surgeon for the last 16 years. “The honesty and purity of pediatric patients makes my job joyous,” the DuPage Medical Group physician says. “I enjoy kids and appreciate their candor and fun.” Dr. Ibrahim finds it a privilege to help kids recover and shares her observations on youth sports injuries.

Accident or Overuse?
Overuse injuries—when the same muscles are being repeatedly taxed, which causes stress and pain—are prevalent among today’s young athletes. While the injuries are sport-specific, the treatment always involves rest. The trend to specialize in one sport too early, and not allow proper rest when needed, may be hurting our student athletes more than it’s helping them. I am competitive and I understand the need for kids to play sports, push themselves and win. But I want parents and kids to know that resting, when needed, can save you from problems in the long run.

Keeping Kids in Tip-Top Shape
Nutrition and sleep are the most important things when it comes to keeping kids healthy. Because of soil depletion, foods aren’t as mineral heavy and it’s difficult for children to build healthy bones if they’re not getting enough vitamin D3, magnesium and calcium. Good food-based supplements can help, but avoid vitamins loaded with sugar and filler. Ninety percent of the young people I test are below average in D3.

Treatment 101
An after-injury guide for when to see a specialist

Muscle strain or sprain
A tendon or
ligament injury
At-home treatments for strains and sprains are rest, elevation, ice, anti-inflammatory medication and occasional immobilization.

Bone fracture
Visible deformity, swelling, and/or reproducible pain in the same location
Bruising and swelling may indicate a more severe injury that requires a medical evaluation.