The majority of sports injuries are caused by minor trauma involving muscles, ligaments, and/or tendons, including:
The most commonly sprained or strained joint is the ankle.
The three ligaments involved in ankles sprains/strains include:
Sprains or strains are uncommon in younger children because their growth plates (areas of bone growth located in the ends of long bones) are weaker than the muscles or tendons. Instead, children are prone to fractures.
A contusion (bruise) is an injury to the soft-tissue often produced by a blunt force such as a kick, fall, or blow. The immediate result will be pain, swelling, and discoloration.
A sprain is a wrenching or twisting injury to a ligament. Sprains often affect the ankles, knees, or wrists.
A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon, and is often caused by overuse, force, or stretching.
Your child's physician makes the diagnosis with a physical examination. During the examination, the physician obtains a complete medical history of the child and asks how the injury occurred.
Diagnostic procedures may also help evaluate the problem. Diagnostic procedures may include:
The following are the most common symptoms of a sprain or strain. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of a sprain or strain may resemble other conditions. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.
Specific treatment for a sprain or strain will be determined by your child's physician based on:
Initial treatment for a sprain or strain includes R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). Other treatment options may include:
Be sure to consult your child's physician if there is a prolonged, visible deformity of the affected area, or if severe pain prevents use of arm, leg, wrist, ankle, or knee.
Contusions, sprains, or strains heal quite quickly in children. It is important that the child adhere to the activity restrictions and/or stretching and strengthening rehabilitation programs to prevent re-injury.
Most sports injuries are due to either traumatic injury or overuse of muscles or joints. Many sports injuries can be prevented with proper conditioning and training, wearing appropriate protective gear, and using proper equipment.
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