Preventing Musculoskeletal Sports Injuries in Youth:

A Guide for Parents Part 1(Present by End Results Health & Wellness)


Childhood Sports Injuries: A Common and Serious Problem

More than 38 million children and adolescents participate in organized sports in the United States each year. Still more participate in informal recreational activities. Although sports participation provides numerous physical and social benefits, it also has a downside: the risk of sports-related injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2.6 million children 0 to 19 years old are treated in the emergency department each year for sports and recreation-related injuries.

These injuries are by far the most common cause of musculoskeletal injuries in children treated in emergency departments. They are also the single most common cause of injury-related primary care office visits.

  • Sprains and Strains

  • Growth Plate Injuries

  • Repetitive Motion Injuries

  • Heat-Related Illnesses

To start this series off, we’ll look at Sprains and Strains, what they are and how to treat them prior to a Doctor’s visit! Most importantly, how to prevent them!

Sprains and Strains

A sprain is an injury to a ligament, one of the bands of tough, fibrous tissue that connects two or more bones at a joint and prevents excessive movement of the joint. An ankle sprain is the most common athletic injury.

A strain is an injury to either a muscle or a tendon. A muscle is a tissue composed of bundles of specialized cells that, when stimulated by nerve messages, contract and produce movement. A tendon is a tough, fibrous cord of tissue that connects muscle to bone. Muscles in any part of the body can be injured.


Preventing and Treating Sprains and Strains

If you have a minor sprain or strain, you can probably treat it at home. Remember R.I.C.E.: Rest, ice, compress and elevate. Rest the injured area, but don't avoid all activity. Ice the area as soon as possible after the injury. Compress the area with an elastic wrap or bandage. Elevate the injured area whenever possible to help prevent or limit swelling. After the first two days, gradually begin to use the injured area. Be sure to protect the injured area from further injury. You may need splints or crutches. You should feel a gradual, progressive improvement. If the injury doesn’t show signs of improvement after a week consult a Doctor for further advice.

Regular stretching and specific strengthening exercises for your sport, fitness or workout activity, as part of an overall physical conditioning program, can help to minimize your risk of sprains and strains. Try to be in shape to play your sport; don't play your sport to get in shape. Regular conditioning can help prevent injuries.

You can protect your joints in the long term by working to strengthen and condition the muscles around the joint that has been injured. The best brace you can give yourself is your own "muscle brace." Also, perform appropriate conditioning and stability exercises. End Results Health & Wellness has developed specific sport exercises to help prevent injuries from occurring. For more information or to inquire about or injury prevention programs contact us at or