Sports Mama Tip: Dealing With Muscle Soreness in Youth Athletes

Let me first start off by saying that I am in no way, shape or form, a medical doctor. Big surprise, I know! However, having three boys involved in organized sports, I have nursed my fair share of aches and pains.

From daily practices to weight lifting to the occasional injury sustained during a game, muscle soreness in youth athletes is bound to happen. Here are eight ways that I help my boys ease their pain:

  1. Warm up. One of the easiest ways to prevent muscle soreness is by warming them up beforehand. It doesn't matter whether they're playing football, soccer, or basketball. Warming up loosens their joints and tendons, increases the temperature and flexibility of their muscles, thus prepping their bodies for exercise which in turn reduces the chance of injury.
  2. Stay hydrated. Proper hydration is crucial for athletes! Hydration not only helps with energy, it also helps to lubricate their joints. Dehydration is a leading cause of muscles cramps. So be sure that your athlete is drinking up pre, during, and post workout!
  3. Ice. Ice helps reduce inflammation aka swelling. It also numbs sore tissues which helps with pain. Ice/cold therapy is most effective within the first 48 hours of injury. I am always sure to carry instant ice packs in my Sports Mama bag. In fact, I sent No. 1 to school with one today for his jammed finger!
  4. Heat. Heat helps to increase blood flow to their muscles, allowing them to relax. It should not be used on acute/new injuries. My favorite ways to apply heat to my athletes' injuries are with a heating pad or those disposable heat patches. Warm epsom salt baths work great too!
  5. Foam roller. They decrease muscle tension and increase blood flow which help ease the pain. No. 1 used his foam roller faithfully during football season. He would even throw it in his backpack to use pre-practice/game!
  6. Biofreeze. Biofreeze is a menthol based topical pain relief formula. Menthol stimulates cold receptors that create a cooling sensation on and under the skin, helping to relieve pain. It was recommended to us by our pediatrician who says she prefers it over similar products such as Icy Hot. It comes in spray, gel, cream, roll-on, and patch formulas all of which can easily be thrown in your on-the-go first-aid kit!
  7. Ibuprofen. Sometimes they need a little more than ice and a foam roller to ease the pain. When that's the case, I give my boys over-the-counter ibuprofen.  It helps with both pain and swelling. Just be sure to check the label for proper dosing and be sure that they take it with food to avoid a possible upset stomach!
  8. Rest. They say time heals all wounds, don't they? Muscles need time to recover. Taking it easy for a couple of days works wonders!

I hope you found this post helpful! As previously mentioned, I'm a Sports Mama not a physician, so please be sure to take your athlete to a professional for any serious injuries.

How do you deal with muscle soreness?