Kids and Common Sports Injuries


“One of the most common sports injuries I see every week is pain in an extremity from chronic repetitive stress, whether it is at the elbow, the wrist, the ankle, the knee or the foot,” says Dr. Schlechter. “Those are definitely the most common sports-related injuries in children that are less traumatic and nonoperative, most of the time. They can be prevented by activity modification, rest, ice, anti-inflammatories and a good stretching program,” he recommends.


A general rule of thumb to reduce injury, says Dr. Schlechter, is for children to not play one sport year-round. They should engage in multiple sports. “For instance, if your child is a baseball player, they should probably cross-train and participate in maybe football, track, and basketball instead of baseball year-round, with a three-month period of rest. That’s a good preventative strategy,” he suggests. Another piece of advice: Don’t play through pain.


“In general, most musculoskeletal injuries, for them to be fully healed,
can take 12 to 16 weeks. Most children start feeling better after resting two to four weeks. They tend to go back to sports too soon. Definitely take the full time to recover,” he says.


“Every football season and the start of soccer season, I’ll see a flurry of patients with foot and ankle pain and those are usually growth plate-related conditions, stress injuries to the bone of the feet,” he says. Dr. Schlechter suggests saving the cleats for game situations only, not every day conditioning.


  • The number of minutes you should apply ice to an injury: 15 to 20 minutes
  • The number of childhood sports injuries in the U.S. each year: 3.5 million
  • The amount of time children should rest between sports activities: 3 months

Meet Dr. Schlechter - CHOC Orthopedic Surgeon

Dr. John Schlechter completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Riverside County Regional Medical Center, where he is the director of orthopedic education and research. He completed a pediatric orthopedic and scoliosis fellowship at Rady’s Children’s Hospital San Diego as well as a post-fellowship preceptorship in sports medicine and arthroscopy at the Orthopedic Specialty Institute in Orange, CA.

Dr. Schlechter’s philosophy of care: “I try to treat the child and not the parent, and make sure the athletes understand their conditions and the rationale of why they might need to have some rest and what the potential unwanted outcomes could be if they don’t get rest.”

New York College of Osteopathic Medicine

Orthopedic Surgery

Dr. John Schlechter

Causes of Sports Injuries

Participation in any sport, whether it’s recreational bike riding or Pee-Wee football, can teach kids to stretch their limits and learn sportsmanship and discipline. But any sport also carries the potential for injury.

By knowing the causes of sports injuries and how to prevent them, you can help make athletics a positive experience for your child.

Smiling softball player

Expert Interview – Overuse Injuries

Dr. John Schlechter in Seacrest Studio

In this CHOC Radio expert interview, Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. John Schlechter dropped by Seacrest Studios to talk about overuse injuries in children. Many children today are involved in sports and some kids even specialize in one type of sport at a young age. Repetitive use of the same bones and joints can cause stress on growing bodies and may result in injury.

Dr. Schlecter, Sports Injuries in Female Athletes

Female athletes and their participation in sports have increased over the years. One of the most notable consequences is sports injuries at an earlier age. In this edition of American Health Journal, John Schlecter, DO, CHOC, discusses how to prevent sports injuries for female athletes.

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