Care for Bones, Muscles and Joints


South Texas Health System Children's offers surgical and nonsurgical treatment of pediatric orthopedic conditions, as well as sports related injuries. Orthopedic surgeons treat a variety of injuries and diseases of the muscles, bones, and joints. They tend to sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures and can recommend exercises and ways to prevent injuries.

Many children participate in athletics and other physical activities that could lead to injury. Young athletes can injure their muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones in various parts of the body. The orthopedic staff at South Texas Health System Children's focus on getting kids back to being able to participate in activities as quickly and as safely and possible and to return children to their normal routine. They use a personalized approach in the management and treatment of a variety of conditions including:

  • Sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries of the knee
  • Cartilage injuries in the knee
  • Achilles tendon injuries
  • Rotator cuff (shoulder joint area) tears
  • Other shoulder injuries and conditions
  • Torn ligaments
  • Injuries and disorders of the foot, ankle, hand and arms

Defining Common Injuries in Kids

Sprains — A sprain is an injury to the ligaments. You may feel a pop when a sprain happens. Symptoms include pain, swelling and bruising. A sprain may take a few weeks to heal completely.

Strain — A strain is an injury to the muscle or tendons. Strains can occur suddenly or develop over time. Typical symptoms include pain, spasms, swelling and trouble moving the muscle.

Dislocation — A dislocation happens when a joint moves out of its normal position. Dislocations can occur in the ankles, knees, hips, shoulder or elbow. Your fingers and toes are also joints that can be dislocated. Often, dislocated joints become swollen and are painful. You are unable to move the joint when a dislocation occurs. Dislocations are uncommon in younger children because their growth plates are weaker than the muscles. Children are more likely to suffer a fracture than a dislocation.

Fractures — A fracture is a break in the bone. Symptoms include misshapen limbs, swelling or bruising, numbness and tingling, and limited mobility. If a broken bone punctures the skin, it is called an open or compound fracture.

Manage Injuries With P.R.I.C.E. 

A five-step process for treating a muscle or joint injury, such as an ankle sprain, is called "P.R.I.C.E." — Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

The process should be used immediately when an injury occurs while further medical attention is being sought.  

  • Protect the injured limb from further injury. You can do this using splints or crutches.
  • Rest the injured limb. But don't avoid all activity. Even with an ankle sprain, you can usually still exercise other muscles to minimize deconditioning.
  • Ice the area. Use a cold pack or a compression sleeve filled with cold water to help limit swelling after an injury. Try to ice the area as soon as possible after the injury and continue to ice it for 10 to 15 minutes four times a day for 48 hours.
  • Compress the area with an elastic wrap or bandage. Compressive wraps made from elastic or neoprene are best.
  • Elevate the injured limb above your heart whenever possible to help prevent or limit swelling.
Edinburg Children's Hospital
If you need a referral to a pediatric specialist affiliated with South Texas Health System Children's, call the South Texas Health System Reserve and Learn line at 800-879-1033.​