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Pediatric Sports Medicine Specialist

Jeffrey Lai, MD -  - Regenerative Sports Medicine Physician

Jeffrey Lai, MD

Regenerative Sports Medicine Physician & Hormone Specialist located in Torrance, CA

Over the last decade, the number of student athletes, whether youth or high school, has increased exponentially. Traditionally seasonal sports such as baseball, soccer, and football are no longer played only during certain months of the year, but have expanded to year-round play with the onset of Club franchises. This new reality has unfortunately led to a substantial rise in the incidences of sports injuries among our children from accidental collisions and strains to overuse. When your child suffers a sports-related injury, they need prompt medical attention from an experienced physician who knows how to care for developing and growing kids. Dr. Lai will diagnose and guide you and your child so they can continue to do what they love most, playing and staying active. Call Jeffrey Lai, MD to find out more or book an appointment online.

   

PEDIATRIC SPORTS MEDICINE Q & A

What Is A Pediatric Sports Injury?

Pediatric sports injuries are injuries that result from either accidental collisions and falls or develop as a result of overuse or inadequate training. Similar to adult sports injuries, the most common types are soft-tissue injuries and head injuries. However, unlike adult sports injuries, a physician dealing with pediatric sports injuries understands the growing patterns and development stages of a child’s musculoskeletal system from youth through adulthood.

The most common sports injuries in children include:

  • Sprains which are the stretching and tearing of ligaments (tissues that connect adjacent bones) 
  • Strains are the stretching and tearing of muscles or tendons (tissues that connect muscles to bones)
  • Repetitive motion injuries and overuse of tendons and muscles lead to tendonitis and stress fractures.
  • Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury sustained from a blow to the head or body, causing the brain to bounce or twist in the skull and disrupting normal function
  • Growth plate injuries occur during the development stages of a child’s growth when damage is sustained to the area at the end of the long bones
  • Shin splints refer to pain along the shin bone (large bone at the front of the lower leg) due to recently intensified or changed training routines

Causes of Sports Injuries in Children

Because children are still developing, they may be more susceptible to certain types of sports injuries. Prior to any sports or extensive physical activity, it is important to stretch and warm up. Many kids do not take the time to warm up before playing, which can cause injuries. Poor practice form and training is another factor that contributes to sports injuries in kids leading to the unnecessary straining of muscles and tendons.

Kids are still growing and they all go through a period of relearning how their body mechanics work. This development stage can lead to slower reaction times and/or awkward movements which make them more likely to suffer a sports injury.

The Benefits of Ultrasound In Diagnosing The Sports Injury

Musculoskeletal ultrasound is a diagnostic technology that uses high-frequency sound waves to create real-time, moving images of your body. As the sound waves travel through the body, images are produced as the sound waves bounce back from tissue or organ boundaries. With these images, Dr. Lai can visualize the internal structures of the body such as muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other tissues. By performing a clinical examination as well as using ultrasound, Dr. Lai can accurately find the source of pain to properly address your child’s injuries.

Musculoskeletal ultrasounds are painless, completely safe, and non-invasive. Unlike X-rays and CT scans, musculoskeletal ultrasounds are performed with no radiation which is much safer for children. Dr. Lai is the only sports medicine physician in the South Bay certified in musculoskeletal sonography (RMSK®), a qualification that demonstrates Dr. Lai’s expertise in using musculoskeletal ultrasound.

Protect Your Child With a Sports Clearance Physical

Orthopedic sports physicals are often a required preventative component to participate in a new sport or activity. A sports physical is a comprehensive exam to check aspects of your physical fitness from your blood pressure to lungs, determining general mobility and reflexes, eyesight, height and weight, and daily nutrition. While many generic clinics will provide a sports clearance, it is important to differentiate between them and a dedicated sports medicine physician who truly understands the musculoskeletal system and the stress a sport can put on the body.

Besides conducting a comprehensive physical exam, Dr. Lai will also conduct an electrocardiogram (ECG) which records the electrical signal from your heart to check different heart conditions. This will provide additional peace of mind and a baseline for future sports physicals.

Dr. Lai will entirely tailor the sports physical to your unique needs, including the sport in which you or your child participates as well as personal and family health history.

What To Expect At Your Pediatric Sports Injury Appointment

Prior to your visit, we will send you an online questionnaire to gather information about your child’s sports injury, medical history, and concerns. Dr. Lai will use this questionnaire during the in-office consultation to aid in his recommendations and treatment regimen.

The in-office visit begins with a clinical examination by Dr. Lai during which you and your child will describe the pain and injury. Dr. Lai will conduct a physical examination and ask your child to perform specific movements to aid in the diagnosis.

During the ultrasound portion of the procedure, Dr. Lai will apply ultrasound gel to the skin of the area to be examined. The gel serves as a conductor for the high-frequency sound waves that will be transmitted through the body with images captured on the screen. Dr. Lai will use the ultrasound transducer to spread the gel over the affected area and as he glides the transducer around, you will be able to see generated images of your child’s moving tissues. You and Dr. Lai can see the images together, allowing you to provide feedback while Dr. Lai is evaluating the condition. The images obtained during this procedure show real-time images with no radiation to help diagnose the issue and offer treatment recommendations.

Treatment options will be customized to your child’s specific injury. Dr. Lai offers programs and services to support the professional care of young athletes. We work with a team of knowledgeable specialists who can provide additional resources for those who need more extensive care such as surgery and physical therapy. Dr. Lai believes that normal is NOT optimal, and you should continue to thrive with the help of advanced medical science.

How Much Does It Cost?

The sports clearance physical with Dr. Lai is $100. If your child has suffered a trauma to the body and requires a pediatric sports injury consultation, the fee is $150. After Dr. Lai completes the sports injury consultation, he may suggest various therapies including a combination of rest, physical therapy, medication, return to play protocols or surgery.

Pediatric Sports Medicine Pricing

Comprehensive Sports Clearance Physical With ECG

Pediatric Sports Injury Consultation

$100

$150

  • Diagnostic imaging (X-ray, CT, MRI) is NOT included in the consultation

Insurance

Our office is a cash-based practice. We do not accept or participate in any insurance programs. Our services are elective and therefore we require the patient to pay upfront for services rendered. We have also opted out of the Medicare Program and are only able to see Medicare patients who are willing to sign a Medicare Waiver, which restricts the patient’s ability to seek reimbursement from Medicare for medical services received at our office.

We understand that this may be disappointing to hear at first, but once you visit our office and experience the difference in convenience, quality of care, and our advanced treatments, you will understand the benefits of independent medical practice. We are here to serve YOU, not the insurance companies and their complicated health plans.

Transparency is a priority to us and you will be provided with treatment or program costs before you agree to proceed.

Our office has negotiated discounted rates for the required lab work. We pass these discounted rates on to our patients and do not profit from these labs. If your insurance plan provides reimbursement for out-of-network providers, our office will provide you with an itemized statement that you can submit for possible reimbursement. Because health insurance is a contract between you and the insurance company, we cannot guarantee any level of insurance reimbursement.