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Sports Medicine

Common Sports Injuries we Treat…
with Care Tailored to Your Child

Whether your child is competing on a field, court, or track, injuries can happen at any moment. Finding the right specialist quickly can make the difference between a smooth return to playing or a delayed recovery.

OIC’s Center for Sports Medicine provides state-of-the-art treatment for sports injuries of all types. Some common conditions we treat include:

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tear

A rip in one of the ligaments (tissue connecting bones or cartilage) in the knee

  • A common knee injury, especially in soccer, football, or basketball
  • Can happen from:
    • Changing direction quickly
    • Stopping abruptly
    • Landing awkwardly after a jump
    • Colliding with someone or something
  • Often requires corrective surgery

 

Fracture

Broken bone

  • A common injury in contact sports, like rugby or football
  • Can be caused by:
    • Trauma—a tackle, collision, or fall
    • Overuse—this can lead to stress fractures (a small crack in the bone), especially in athletes  
  • Depending on the fracture’s location, type, and severity, it can be treated by:
    • Reduction (giving the child pain medication, then gently moving the bone into place)
    • Bracing or casting (following reduction)
    • Surgery
  • Common types of fractures include:
    • Stable—the broken bones line up, with little displacement
    • Open, compound—the skin is punctured or pierced with visible bone
    • Transverse—the break in the bone is horizontal
    • Oblique—the break in the bone is angled
    • Comminuted—the bone shatters

 

Meniscal Tear

A full or partial rip in the wedge-shaped cartilage located in the knee

  • An especially common injury in contact sports, such as rugby or football
  • Can happen when your child’s knee:
    • Takes a hit
    • Twists after a sudden change in direction
    • Absorbs force in a heavy fall
    • The tear often happens with a “popping” sound
  • Based on the type, size, and location of the tear, these injuries can be treated with:
    • Rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE)
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or aspirin
    • Surgery

 

Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD)

When a small piece of bone in a joint splits off because it lacks adequate blood supply

  • More common in children who are very active in a variety of sports—from baseball to lacrosse
  • Can happen in any joint, but most commonly in knees, elbows, and ankles
  • Might be caused by repeated trauma or stress to the bone
  • Usually heals on its own but can sometimes require surgical treatment

 

Patellar Subluxation

Kneecap dislocation

  • Common in high-impact sports, like football or soccer
  • Happens when the patella (kneecap) slides out of place
  • Can be caused by:
    • Direct blows to the knee
    • Falls
    • Awkward twists or rotations
  • Requires treatment even if the kneecap slides back into place on its own
  • Depending on the severity, treatment can include:
    • Reduction (giving the child pain medication, then gently moving the bone into place)
    • A brace
    • Physical therapy
    • Surgery

 

Shoulder Dislocation

When the upper arm bone detaches from the shoulder blade socket

  • Common in contact sports, such as football or hockey
  • Can occur from forward, backward, or downward shoulder movements or activities, such as throwing a ball
  • Can range in severity, from partial to complete dislocations
  • Symptoms include muscle spasms and looseness in the shoulder (instability)
  • Treatment is a closed reduction—putting the shoulder joint back into place
  • Severe pain subsides almost immediately after treatment, but shoulder could be sore for several days or weeks
  • Your child might need to wear a sling for several weeks, then do special exercises

 

Sprain

An overstretching or ripping of a ligament—fibrous tissue that connects one bone to another

  • Common in a variety of sports, like football or basketball
  • Occurs most commonly in ankles, knees, and wrists
  • Can be caused by sudden trauma (like a hard twist or fall) or repeated overuse
  • Symptoms include swelling, bruising, and pain
  • Based on severity and location, treatment can include:
    • Rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE)
    • Bracing
    • Surgery

 

Strain

An overstretching or ripping of a muscle or a tendon—fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone

  • High-risk activities include:
    • Contact sports, including soccer, football, and hockey
    • Sports that demand sudden starts, such as track
    • Tennis, rowing, golf, gymnastics, and other sports that demand tight hand grips
    • Throwing and racquet sports that stretch the elbow
  • A strain carries the same symptoms as a sprain, as well as muscle weakness, spasms, and cramping
  • Treatments include:
    • Rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE)
    • Exercises
    • Surgery in some cases involving tears

 

Tendinitis

Inflammation from overusing muscles or tendons

  • Common in strenuous sports, such as swimming or basketball
  • Treatment can include crutches, braces, casts, and physical therapy
  • Note: It’s best to let a trained professional diagnose this to rule out more serious injuries like tears or fractures

 

Bursitis

Swelling and pain of the bursae—jelly-like sacs that lie between bones and soft tissue

  • Common in sports that involve repetitive motions, like tennis or swimming
  • Comes from overuse, or too many small stresses applied to one area
  • Common bursitis spots are the shoulder, elbow, knee, hip, and ankle
  • Treatments include:
    • A change in activity
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or aspirin
    • For more serious cases, fluid removal from the bursae, and injections of corticosteroids (stronger painkillers)
    • In rare cases, surgery

 

Osteomyelitis

Bone infection

  • Can be caused by any sports injury that becomes infected
  • Usually caused by bacteria, but can also be caused by a fungus
  • Can happen when an infection starts in another part of the body and spreads to the bone
  • Can also happen after surgery
  • In children, osteomyelitis usually involves the upper arm or thigh bone
  • Symptoms include pain, sweating, fever, and chills
  • Treatment usually involves 4 to 6 weeks of antibiotics
  • If the infection doesn’t clear up, surgery may be needed