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Pediatric Sprains and Strains

The majority of sports injuries are caused by minor trauma involving muscles, ligaments and/or tendons, including:

  • Contusions (bruises)
  • Sprains
  • Strains

The most commonly sprained or strained joint is the ankle.

The three ligaments involved in ankles sprains or strains include the following:

    Illustration demonstrating the three ligaments involved in ankle sprains/strains
  • Anterior talofibular ligament
  • Posterior talofibular ligament
  • Calcaneofibular ligament

Sprains or strains are uncommon in younger children because their growth plates (areas of bone growth located in the ends of long bones) are weaker than the muscles or tendons. Instead, children are prone to fractures.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Prevention and Risk Assessment

What is a contusion?

What is a sprain?

What is a strain?

What is an overuse injury?

How can my child prevent overuse injuries?


How is a sprain or strain in children diagnosed?


What is the treatment for sprains or strains in children?

What is the long-term outlook for an adolescent with a sprain or strain?

Providers Who Treat Sprains and Strains

    Departments that Treat Sprains and Strains

    Children’s National orthopaedic surgeon Sean Tabaie, M.D., cares for pediatric patient in cast.

    Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine

    From sprains and strains to complex congenital conditions, Children's National Hospital offers one of the most experienced pediatric orthopaedic practices in the nation, with experience in treating all areas from head to toe.