Playing any sports puts your child at risk of getting injured. Every year, thousands of kids experience one sports injury or another. According to Stanford Children’s Health, more than 3.5 million sports injuries occur in children annually, with sprains and strains being the most frequent injuries that occur. Sports injuries can result from trauma caused by player contact, improper training practices, overuse of body parts, wearing wrong sporting gear, improper equipment, or improper rehabilitation.
AFC Urgent Care Malden can help treat most sports injuries with added convenience over spending time in the emergency room. Visit our center on a walk-in basis this summer to help your child receive treatment for any injury.
Common Sports Injuries
Ankle sprains result from the stretching and tearing of ligaments that support the ankle, leading to pain, swelling, tenderness, bruising, and instability. This injury occurs mainly in twisting and cutting action sports, like basketball, football, soccer, and tennis. In general, sprains are treated with the RICE protocol, but in more severe sprain cases, an orthopedic specialist may be necessary.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear can result from impact to the outside of the knee or non-impact jump or twist and is characteristic of pain and swelling and limited knee movement. If your child plays basketball, soccer, tennis, or volleyball, they could suffer an ACL injury.
Osgood-Schlatter is a knee injury, specifically, a traction injury (aka stretch injury) that affects a growth plate atop the shin bone known as an apophysis. Developed due to both muscle tightness and high levels of activity, the injury tends to manifest symptoms such as pain and swelling or a protruding growth or bump at the bottom of the knee.
Shin splints tend to occur mostly in children in sports that require repetitive running on a hard surface. A lack of proper conditioning and overtraining early in the season can cause shin splints, with symptoms that include pain and discomfort in the shins (the lower front part of the leg).
A concussion can occur in several sports caused by a direct blow to the head. A child that has suffered an impact on the head is typically monitored for symptoms such as headaches, confusion, dizziness, and blurred vision. While the general treatment for this injury is rest, it’s best to follow up with a medical evaluation.
Ways to Treat Minor Injuries
One of the most effective ways to treat many minor sports injuries is adapting the RICE formula: Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation.
Pain signals indicate that the body is hurt somehow, and the injured area needs to rest. Rest significantly for the first two days after getting injured to prevent delayed recovery.
To minimize pain and swelling immediately after your child has been injured, apply a cold compress (covered with a light towel) to the injured area for 15-20 minutes, every 2 to 3 hours, for at least the first 24 hours. Do not put your cold compress, an ice pack, or otherwise, directly onto the skin.
To prevent swelling, apply pressure to the injured area by wrapping it with an elastic bandage tight enough but not to interrupt blood flow. If you experience tingling, numbness, coldness, or your skin beneath the bandage changes color, it could signify that the bandage is wrapped too tightly and needs to be rewrapped.
Elevation is simply keeping your child’s injury raised above the level of their heart. This helps to minimize throbbing, swelling, and pain.
When to Visit a Doctor
Do not delay taking your child to a medical provider if you notice any of the following:
- Loss of strength or movement in the injured limb, like an arm or leg
- Clear bone fracture
- Dislocated joints
- Any sign of deformity in the injured area
Regardless of the injury that your child may develop, it’s essential to begin treatment immediately. The treatment plan must be followed as prescribed. Most importantly, your child should be fully recovered before resuming sports activities.