Athletic aches and pains — when to seek orthopedic care

Joint, bone, tendon and muscle pain associated with sports and exercise are common, and it can be confusing to know when the pain warrants a trip to the doctor for evaluation.

In general, it’s a good idea to have pain evaluated if it persists beyond a couple of days. Problems like tendonitis are easier to treat when they are caught early, whereas trying to play or exercise through the pain with tendonitis can result in more degeneration of the tendon over the long-run. Exercising through pain also typically leads to favoring the side without pain, which can lead to additional injury.

There are unique causes of pain during sports in children, including irritation of growth centers in the bone. In kids, pain from bone-growth centers is actually more common than tendonitis. If a child is experiencing pain right over a bone during an activity, they should be evaluated by a medical provider.

At Washington University Orthopedics, we have experience and expert knowledge evaluating athletes of all ages and athletic ability. We are happy to evaluate athletic injuries at our walk-in Orthopedic Injury Clinic, now in West County and South County with expanded hours.

Author: Scott Simpson, MD
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 

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