Treatment for sprains or strains
Specific treatment for a sprain or strain will be determined by your adolescent's doctor based on:
Your adolescent's age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the injury
Your adolescent's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the condition
Your opinion or preference
Initial treatment for a sprain or strain includes R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). Other treatment options may include:
Medications such as ibuprofen
Splint or cast
Crutches or wheelchair
Physical therapy (to stretch and strengthen the injured muscles, ligaments, and tendons)
Surgery (especially if the injury is reoccurring or if a muscle, tendon, or ligament is badly torn)
Be sure to consult your adolescent's doctor if there is a prolonged, visible deformity of the affected area, or if severe pain prevents use of arm, leg, wrist, ankle, or knee.
What is an overuse injury?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, children and adolescents who regularly participate in sports activities may develop microtraumatic damage to a muscle, bone, or tendon that is repeatedly stressed and does not have time to heal naturally. This cumulative damage is known as an overuse injury. The injury is called microtrauma because it may not appear on X-ray, but it can affect the overall health and development of the child or adolescent. Overuse injuries are classified in 4 stages:
Pain in the affected area after physical activity
Pain during the activity, without restricting performance
Pain during the activity, with restricted performance
Chronic pain that does not go away
Prevention of overuse injuries
The American Academy of Pediatrics includes the following in its recommendations to prevent overuse injuries in young athletes:
Reserve one to two days per week for rest from competitive sports and training.
Take breaks of at least two to three months away from a specific sport during the course of a year.
Emphasize that sports participation should be focused on fun, skill-building, safety and sportsmanship.
Long-term outlook for an adolescent with a sprain or strain
Contusions, sprains, or strains heal quite quickly in children and adolescents. It is important that your teen adhere to the activity restrictions and/or stretching and strengthening rehabilitation programs to prevent reinjury.
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.