2/7/23 blog post
when to be concerned about a sprain
in this article
- signs and symptoms of a sprain
- what to do if your child has a sprain
- when to visit a specialist for care
Strains are injuries to muscle due to overstretching like 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, especially those that are physically active or playing competitive sports.
- pain in the joint or muscle
- swelling and bruising
- warmth and redness of the injured area
- difficulty moving the injured part
If you suspect your child has suffered from a sprain or strain, make sure they stop activity right away. Think "R.I.C.E." for the first 48 hours after the injury:
- Rest: Rest the injured area, until it's less painful.
- Ice: Wrap an icepack or cold compress in a towel and place over the injured area immediately. Continue for no more than 20 minutes at a time, four to eight times a day.
- Compression: Support the injured area with an elastic compression bandage for at least 2 days.
- Elevation: Raise the injured area above heart level to decrease swelling.
Consider visiting a sports medicine provider 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
Concerned about your child's sprain or strain? We're here to help. To schedule an appointment with one of Dayton Children's sports medicine providers, visit: www.childrensdayton.org/schedule-appointment-sports-medicine