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At Oak Hill Academy students have the opportunity to tryout for and participate in many athletic programs.  We have basketball teams, soccer, tennis, cheerleading, volleyball, horsemanship, wrestling, etc.  There are also many opportunities for physical activity outside of our organized sports teams.  Presently, the fall athletic season is in full swing. This means we are seeing a lot of sprains and strains at the Nurse’s Office. We are seeing one to three of these injuries each week.

A sprain is the stretching of ligaments surrounding a joint.  A ligament’s job is to connect two bones, providing stability to the joint during movement.  A strain is the stretching or tearing of a muscle or a tendon. A tendon is a tissue that connects the muscle to the bone, giving the muscle the ability to move the extremity.  Treatment for both of these injuries is the same.  The first and most effective treatment for these injuries is rest, ice, compression and elevation.  By doing these interventions quickly, we can prevent pain and inflammation in the affected area, allowing it to heal more quickly. We recommend wrapping the joint only for a few days.  If the joint is immobilized for longer than necessary, it could contribute to losing muscle tone in the area, making the joint more susceptible to further injuries. We also treat these injuries with ibuprofen, an over-the-counter medication that is effective in controlling pain and decreasing inflammation.

Sprains and strains usually heal in a matter of weeks and require no further treatment.  If an injury seems to be taking longer than usual to heal, or if it is worsening, we can arrange for a provider to assess it and make a recommendation.  Sometimes this includes bracing the joint, taking prescription strength anti-inflammatories, or in some cases, even physical therapy.  We are fortunate to have a very good working relationship with a talented orthopedic and sports medicine group in the area.

The staff at Oak Hill Academy is experienced in dealing with these injuries.  We typically handle 40-60 of them every year. Our physical education instructors, the coaching staff, resident managers and nursing staff all work together to help students in the treatment of these injuries.  If your child has experienced a sprain or strain, ask them if they have sought treatment from the infirmary.  If they haven’t, encourage them to do so.  We are here to help!

GOOD LUCK to all of our athletes this season! GO WARRIORS!

Thanks for reading,
Betsy Anderson, RN, BSN
Oak Hill Academy Nurse