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Sports Medicine

Recovering From a Sports Injury: When Can My Child Play Again?

When your child is recovering from a sports injury, the main goals for treatment will generally fall into three categories:

  1. Healing bone and tissue
  2. Recovering range of motion
  3. Ending pain

In other words, getting back in the game.

We know how important it is for competitive athletes to resume their training, play, and self-improvement. Our goal is the same as yours: to get them to their maximum potential as soon as possible.

How quickly your child heals will depend on:

  • Age
  • Injury
  • Whether surgery is needed
  • The extent to which your child rests, does therapy if needed, and otherwise complies with the treatment regimen

In general, below are the approximate healing times you can expect for some of the more common sports injuries.


 

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tear

At least 3 months for a partial tear

Treatment can include:

  • Rest
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery

Healing time depends on:

  • Extent of the tear
  • Whether there are other injuries in the knee
  • If surgery is needed, the type of surgical repair performed

 

Fracture

Several weeks to several months

Treatment can include:

  • Casting
  • Bracing
  • Traction
  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy to maintain muscle strength

Healing time depends on:

  • Location and severity of the fracture
  • Whether surgery is needed

 

Meniscal Tear

Between 1 and 6 months

Treatment can include:

  • Rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE)
  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy

Healing time depends on:

  • Extent and location of the tear
  • Whether surgery is needed

 

Osteochondritis Dissecans

Between 2 and 5 months

Treatment can include:

  • Rest
  • Avoiding strenuous activity
  • Crutches, splinting, or casting (depending on the location)
  • Surgery

Healing time depends on:

  • Size of the lesion
  • Whether the lesion has separated from the surrounding bone

 

Patellar Subluxation (Kneecap Dislocation)

6 to 8 weeks

Treatment can include:

  • Rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE)
  • A brace, splint, or cast
  • Crutches
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery

Healing time depends on:

  • Severity of the injury
  • Whether surgery is needed

 

Shoulder Dislocation

6 weeks to 6 months

Treatment can include:

  • Sling or another device to keep the shoulder still
  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy

Healing time depends on:

  • Frequency of the injury
  • Severity of the injury

 

Sprain or Strain

Several weeks

Treatment includes:

  • Rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE)
  • Crutches
  • Brace
  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy

Healing time depends on:

  • Location of the injury
  • Severity of the injury

 

Tendinitis or Bursitis

Several weeks to several months

Treatment includes:

  • Rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE)
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy

Healing time depends on:

  • Location and severity of the injury
  • Whether surgery is needed