What patients and families need to know
A Team Approach to Caring for Young Athletes
Children's physicians work closely with athletic trainers and physical therapists to care for young athletes.
Meet the team
Children’s National offers the only pediatric sports medicine program in the region. Caring for more than 5,000 patients a year, we help young athletes overcome a wide range of sports injuries.
Children’s National Pediatric Sports Medicine: Why Choose Us?
Children’s National delivers the highest level of care to children with sports injuries. In fact, we are national experts in pediatric-specific techniques that also protect your child's physical development. We also successfully treat complex injuries, such as torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs), in children as young as six years old.
Highlights of our program include:
- Expertise: Children’s National is home to providers in multiple subspecialties, who work together to provide the best care for your child. Working alongside athletic trainers and physical therapists, our sports medicine doctors successfully treat injuries that were thought to be untreatable.
- Protecting your child’s development: We use pediatric-specific surgical methods to treat your child without affecting his or her growth potential. Using special techniques and a conservative approach helps us protect special segments in the long bones of the arms and legs (growth plates). Learn more about minimally invasive orthopaedic surgery.
- Referral center: Physicians from outside the Washington, DC, area put their trust in our expertise. We receive referrals from as far away as West Virginia and North Carolina. We invite referring providers to view our referral guidelines.
- Family-centered approach: We always consider your child’s eagerness to play along with your family’s concern for his or her comfort and well-being. This helps us personalize treatments to fit your family’s preferences. We’re always open to adjusting treatment plans when necessary.
- Research: We are part of a select group of physicians working to improve care and treatment for uncommon injuries involving bone and cartilage in the knee (osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) lesions). Learn more about this work being done at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Surgical Innovation.
Sports Medicine Conditions We Treat at Children’s National
Our Sports Medicine specialists treat the whole spectrum of sports related injuries, from the most common to highly complex. We are adept at treating sprains and strains
as well as sports overuse injuries
like shin splints and spondylolysis. Whatever the condition, our experts provide the highest level of treatment to get your child back to his or her normal activities as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Sports Medicine Treatments at Children’s National
There are many ways to treat a sports injury. We pride ourselves in selecting the most appropriate treatment for each child based on his or her physical development, diagnosis, and treatment goals.
Sports injury care at Children’s National includes:
- On-site radiology: Our ability to take X-rays within our clinics helps us manage sports injuries accurately and efficiently. We are one of few pediatric hospitals with an EOS® machine, which provides high quality scans more quickly and with less radiation than a traditional X-ray. Learn more about diagnostic imaging and radiology.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help your child strengthen muscles, increase flexibility, and safely return to physical activity after an injury. All of our physical therapists have a special interest in working with children. Learn more about rehabilitation medicine.
- Splints and braces: Special devices, including splints and braces, stabilize injured limbs, allowing them to rest and heal. Specialists from child life services can help you and your child navigate practical matters, such as how to find clothes that fit over a brace or how to safely get around on crutches.
- Minimally invasive surgery: When surgery is necessary, we use the latest minimally invasive techniques. Using small incisions and sophisticated surgical tools helps minimize disruption to surrounding tissue and speeds recovery. Learn more about minimally invasive orthopaedic surgery.
- Athletic training: A certified athletic trainer works directly with the sports medicine team to provide the best quality care possible and help patients return to the activities they love. The trainer assists with evaluation and treatment of patients in the clinic, coordinates diagnostic testing and treatment and creates rehabilitation programs. The trainer also works as a liaison to local athletic trainers and other healthcare providers in the community, providing access to the sports medicine department for consultation and treatment.
Preventing Pediatric Sports Injuries
One of the best ways to care for pediatric sports injuries is to prevent them from happening. Our athletic trainers work with local school athletic training programs to help coaches, parents, and young athletes have a fun and safe sports season.
Tips to prevent sports injuries include:
- Warming up before playing
- Recognizing the signs of extreme tiredness (fatigue) and taking breaks when necessary
- Avoiding play when there is pain or discomfort
- Playing with children who are of similar physical size and skill level
For more information or to make an appointment, call us at 202-476-2112.