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When should a young athlete see a sports medicine physician?

Jennifer J. Beck, MD
Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery
A young athlete should see a sports medicine physician if he or she has pain or swelling for more than a couple days. Kids run and fall down and can get some bruises, and if they have aches or pains for just a day or so, a parent can let them return to the sport and see how they do. However, if the athlete continues to have pain, continues to limp, or the swelling hasn't gone down in a few days, a visit to the doctor before returning to play is in order. A sports medicine provider can make sure that it's safe to return to play, and can determine if there is a way to prevent this injury from happening again.
A young athlete should see a sports medicine physician whenever he or she has an illness or injury that is not improving after three or four days. A sports medicine specialist can help determine if an injury is just sore or is truly serious. Sports medicine specialists are experts at return to play decisions.
It’s not uncommon for young athletes to experience stiffness and soreness. However, when a young player starts opting out of playing, avoids putting weight on the injury or stops sleeping because of pain, a doctor’s visit is in order.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.