Technical Names: Sprains, Soft Tissue Injuries, Musculoskeletal Injuries
NickNames: twisted arm or leg, thrown joint
What it is: a pulling and/or tearing of the soft tissues of a joint, the ligaments, tendons, and muscles. The ankle is the most commonly sprained joint in kids and often sports related.
Typical Ages: Any and all ages.
Etiology: trauma – intentional and nonintentional, usually during play and sports
Seasonal Issues: Any and all seasons – some injuries are more seasonal and sports dependent.
- pain, swelling, bruising, +/- deformity of affected joint. Varying degrees of difficulty using. The more symptoms, the more severe the sprain
- Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation (RICE) for all injuries with swelling and bruising
- ibuprofen for pain and swelling
- no sports until pain free – this is particularly important for injuries with limitation of movement after the injury
Prevention: While many sports related injuries are hard to avoid, the chances of an injury are reduced if kids are conditioned properly for the sport, playing at an age-appropriate level, and rest for the recommended amount of time by a physician after an injury.
Return to School and Sports:
- 1-3 weeks, sometimes less and sometimes more. Very dependent on initial limitation of motion.
- Child needs to be able to use sprained joint normally and without pain before returning to sports
- inability to use arm or bear weight
- extreme pain
- pain and function not improving with RICE and ibuprofen
- deformity or significant bruising
- any neurologic symptoms of the extremity: numbness, tingling, etc.