Strains are injuries to muscle due to overstretching such as a common hamstring strain, while sprains involve a stretch or a partial tear of ligaments (which connect two bones) or tendons (which connect muscle to bone) such as the ACL in the knee. Sprains and strains happen more often in teens than in younger children.
- pain in the joint or muscle
- swelling and bruising
- warmth and redness of the injured area
- difficulty moving the injured part
Make sure your child stops activity right away.
Think R.I.C.E. for the first 48 hours after the injury:
- Rest: Rest the injured part until it's less painful.
- Ice: Wrap an icepack or cold compress in a towel and place over the injured part immediately. Continue for no more than 20 minutes at a time, four to eight times a day.
- Compression: Support the injured part with an elastic compression bandage for at least 2 days.
- Elevation: Raise the injured part above heart level to decrease swelling.
If Your Child Has:
- severe pain when the injured part is touched or moved
- continued trouble bearing weight
- increased bruising
- numbness or a feeling of "pins and needles" in the injured area
- a limb that looks "bent" or misshapen
- signs of infection (increased warmth, redness, streaks, swelling, and pain)
- a strain or sprain that doesn't seem to be improving after 5 to 7 days
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