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What Every New Parent Should Know About Child Sprains

As children get older, they begin exploring the world around them. Playpens get traded for playgrounds, and rocking horses get swapped for bicycles. Though their curiosity is vital to their development and should be encouraged, such exploration also comes with its own set of risks. One such risk is the possibility of injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the emergency department treats a new child for injury every four seconds. Thus, parents need to know how to protect their children from the risk of bodily harm.

Below, we’ll list a few things parents need to know about one of the most common types of child injuries: sprains.

Causes of sprains
Sprains occur when soft bodily tissues like ligaments, muscles, and tendons get twisted, torn, or bent out of shape. Your child will most definitely feel pain around the affected area. There may be swelling and bruising around the impacted joint, which makes it difficult to use.

Active children are particularly susceptible to sprains since they partake in activities that require a lot of movements, such as rough play, sports, and other outdoor activities. The younger a child is, the less likely they are to get a sprain. This is because their bones are still growing. Thus, their growth plates are more vulnerable to damage than ligaments, tendons, and muscles.

Injuries that cause sprains in adults may cause growth plate damage in children. Growth plates are soft, weak tissues that grow at the end of a child’s bone. They’re responsible for adding length and width to a child’s bones. Thus, when a growth plate injury is not treated, bones may end up growing crooked, short, or deformed. If your child sustains damage to their growth plate, seek the services of a healthcare professional as soon as possible.

How can I prevent sprains?

As painful as sprains are, they’re easy to remedy and also very preventable. KidsHealth provided a set of guidelines parents can follow to help keep their children safe from injuries like sprains. As stated in their guide, parents can keep their kids safe by supervising them while they are doing outdoor activities. If your child plays sports, make sure the adults overseeing the activity, such as coaches and teachers, have training in first aid. You should make sure that these adults enforce strict rules about safety and encourage the use of proper equipment as well.

It might also help to encourage your child to stretch. Sprains often occur when bodily tissues are stretched to their limit, so they can be prevented by keeping the ligaments, tendons, and muscles strong. An overview of easy stretching exercises by SymptomFind recommends building flexibility by stretching the calves, hamstrings, quads, and, most importantly, their lower legs. By building flexibility, your children can increase their mobility, strengthen their bodies, and help to avoid injuries.

That being said, before allowing your child to engage in a potentially dangerous activity, make sure to provide them with the necessary safety equipment and educate them on its importance. If your son or daughter wants to ride a bike, for example, buy them a well-fitted helmet and explain to them why wearing it is important. Discuss the potential dangers in a realistic manner. Additionally, make sure that the protective equipment you purchase follows industry-approved safety standards. Bike helmets, for instance, need approval from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

How can I treat sprains?

The minute you discover the injury, you need to stop your child from moving too much. For the first 48 hours, you can use the RICE method to prevent further damage. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Basically, you need to keep the injured area rested. Then, you can wrap an ice pack around the affected area to provide relief. Four to eight sessions of icing are recommended, with each session lasting a maximum of 20 minutes. Lastly, you can decrease swelling by elevating the affected area, preferably above heart level.

When should I see a professional?

Seek professional help when your child exhibits the following symptoms: severe pain, numbness, additional bruising, increased swelling, increased warmth, redness, streaks, or misshapen limbs. If the sprain impacted the ankle, it’s best to seek the services of a podiatrist. Podiatrists at Ankle & Foot Clinic of Everett use state-of-the-art equipment and modern treatments to give your child quality care while keeping them comfortable.

Injuries like sprains are very preventable and easily treatable. Equip yourself with knowledge of common childhood injuries to improve your preparedness for unexpected incidents.

Written exclusively for ankleandfootnorthwest.com by Apple Hoover


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