No one wants to see their child hurt. Sometimes children play hard and rough causing them to get injured, and one of the more common injuries to the musculoskeletal system is a sprain.
What is a sprain?
A sprain occurs when the ligaments overstretch or tear. Ankles, wrists and knees sprain more easily than other ligaments. Sprains are usually a result of an injury such as twisting an ankle or knee.
It can take a sprain as long as three to four weeks to heal and can sometimes take longer. When a child is healing from a sprain, they should refrain from activities that might further irritate the sprain.
What should you know when your child has a sprain?
How to recognize a sprain. When a child sprained a ligament, it will likely hurt right away and begin to swell and might looked bruised.
Symptoms of a sprain:
- Pain in the joint or muscle
- Swelling and bruising
- Warmth and redness in the injured area
- Difficulty moving the injured area
How to treat a sprain. The first step is to make sure your child stops the activity. Next, they should see a doctor as soon as possible. Often times it is hard to tell the difference between a sprain and a broken bone, so it’s important for a doctor to determine which injury it is.
A good way to take care of a sprain is to remember RICE. It stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation:
- Rest the injured part of the body
- Ice the injury in 20 minute intervals; be sure to place a towel between the skin and ice
- Compress the injury with a bandage or splint, if it is recommended by the child’s doctor
- Elevate the injury so that it’s higher than the heart to prevent swelling
How to prevent sprains. To prevent sprains, parents should:
- Make sure their child warms up, stretches and wears protective gear when they play a sport
- Make sure their child wears shoes that fit well
- Make sure their child eats a well-balanced meal to build muscle strength