When to see a Doctor for your Child's Sports Injury
By: Catherine Sargent, MD
"As a parent it can sometimes be hard to decide when an injury needs an evaluation and when
your child can walk it off. There are kids who are all over the board, there are some kids who have a mild discomfort amplified into a giant catastrophe, and there are other kids who will just play through the pain and keep going. So I think the people best able to determine which scenario they have is the parent.
What To Look For in a Sports Injury
In an acute injury if something happens suddenly and they're not able to put weight on a leg, if you see swelling or if there's a joint they can't move and certainly severe swelling and bruising those are all obvious signs that would lead you to seek care.
The more difficult decisions come when you have a child who participates in a sport and seems fine running around on the field, then you take them home after practice and when they get out of the car there's a series of complaints about pain-- like foot pain or knee pain or hip pain. It can be hard to reconcile that with having just seen them run around on the basketball court or the soccer field so if they come home sore one day after a workout or after practice you can let them have a bath, shake it off see how they are the next day.
But if they're coming home from soccer practice with the same complaints and the same limping for a series of days, particularly if you see a change in the way they walk or the way they behave after an activity that's where you might want to start looking into it figure out if it's an overuse injury, an overtraining issue, or if there's something more serious going on.
The first step towards a solution is seeking care. Generally, they do quite well as long as
you're seeking care for your child and getting it taken care of and helping them recover from it. Kids bounce back-- it's one of the best things about taking care of kids. They have more capacity to heal, they're so resilient and they'll get back out there and have fun.
About Dr. Catherine Sargent
Dr. Sargent is affiliate faculty for the Department of Surgery and Perioperative Care at Dell Children’s Medical Center. She is a graduate of Baylor College of Medicine.
She completed an orthopedic surgery residency at the Tulane University Health Sciences Center and earned her fellowship in pediatric orthopedics at the Scottish Rite Hospital of Atlanta. Dr. Sargent is board-certified in orthopedic surgery and is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America and the American College of Sports Medicine. In her free time Dr. Sargent enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, scuba diving, and spending time with family.
To learn more about Dr. Sargent click here.