Three Common Sports Medicine Injuries in Children and Teens


Dr. Katherine Merra

Katherine Merra, MD

There is nothing more fun and exhausting than an active kid. If your child plays sports, your weekends are probably spent on the sidelines or bleachers cheering them on or running from one game or meet to the next. Although you hope and wish this day will never come, as a parent, one of the most terrifying moments comes when your child suffers a sports medicine injury while doing what they love.

At South Shore Orthopedics, we specialize in treating sports medicine injuries in children and teens. So whether your child is a football player, track star, cheerleader, or more, the information below will help you identify an injury and know when to contact a sports medicine expert for evaluation.

Repetitive Stress Injuries: Known as RSIs, repetitive stress injuries occur when too much stress is placed on one part of the body. For example, when muscles and tendons become overused, the tendon can become inflamed, resulting in tendonitis. Additionally, stress fractures can occur in bone that has been subjected to repeated stress. RSIs can result in inflammation, tissue damage, muscle strain, and more.

In children and teens, repetitive stress injuries tend to occur at growth plates. In the general sense, growth plates are areas of cartilage at the end of bones where tissue develops and growth occurs. Therefore, most RSIs in children and teens occur at the elbows, shoulders, knees. and heels of the feet.

Contact a sports medicine expert for evaluation if any of the following symptoms of a repetitive stress injury occur:

  • Popping or clicking sensation
  • Stiffness or soreness that persists
  • Pain in the around the affected area

Growth Plate Injuries: Growth plate injuries, as mentioned above, are a common sports related injury in children because the growth plate is the last portion of a child’s bone to harden, making it more susceptible to injury. If an injury occurs to a growth plate, it is important to seek treatment from a sports medicine doctor who specializes in bone injuries. The growth plate determines the future length and shape of the mature bone, and an injury to the growth plate could potentially affect the future growth.

In children, approximately 15 to 30 percent of childhood fractures occur at the growth plate. Additionally, one-third of all growth plate fractures occur during competitive sports, such as gymnastics, basketball, or football.

Contact a sports medicine expert if an injury, such as a fall or accident, occurs and any of the following symptoms are present:

  • Inability to move the limb
  • Inability to put pressure on the limb
  • Visible deformity to the limb
  • Swelling, tenderness, and warmth in the area surrounding the end of the bone, near the joint

Strains and Sprains: An ankle sprain is a very common athletic injury. A sprain occurs when a ligament is injured and a strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is injured. Most often, these injuries are a result of a sudden twisting, such as the rolling of the foot or ankle when going to kick a ball.

Your child may be suffering from a strain or sprain and need evaluation by a sports medicine expert if any of the following symptoms are present:

  • Weakness or trouble moving the injured area
  • Warmth, redness, and bruising to the affected area
  • Pain
  • Swelling

If your child suffers a sports-related injury, look no further than South Shore Orthopedics. South Shore Orthopedics specializes in treating sports medicine injuries in children and teens through conservative and state-of-the-art methods. Schedule an appointment today!

This blog post was originally published on South Shore Orthopedics' blog.