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Sports Injury Symptoms & Treatment

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School and community athletes can avoid sprains, strained muscles and torn ligaments by warming up, cooling down, wearing protective gear that fits properly and abiding by the rules of the game.

But while helpful in preventing injuries, such steps will not make a child invincible. When injuries occur, it's important to take the right actions.

Here are some sports injury tips from American Family Children's Hospital.

Recognize the symptoms

It's important to recognize the symptoms of a sports injury immediately after it occurs to avoid further aggravating the injury and causing more damage.

If your child experiences joint pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising or any reduced ability to move, he or she should rest, ice the injured area for the first 48 to 72 hours, and keep it elevated above the heart to reduce swelling.

An elastic bandage or splint may be used to control swelling. Crutches or casting may be necessary for support.

Sport injury treatment

The next step is to see a doctor for an assessment of the injury. He or she can evaluate your child to determine the best treatment for the specific injury and whether or not your child's participation level should be altered.

To make an assessment, the doctor will ask when the first injury happened, how often it occurs and how it is being treated.

After a physical examination of the injury, the doctor may request X-rays to check for fractures or dislocations. Other special tests may be performed to look for complications such as torn cartilage or ligaments in the injured area.

Generally, the doctor or trainer will recommend a period of rest to give the body time to recover. A typical injury takes six weeks or longer to fully heal and rehabilitate. After allowing the body time to rest, the patient can start rehabilitation in order to regain motion, strength, flexibility and coordination.

It is important to take rehabilitation slowly and to remember that pain signifies overuse of the injured muscle or joint. A doctor or trainer can recommend exercises and stretches that will work to slowly and steadily get your child back on the field, rink or court without permanent damage.

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