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Intense physical activity becomes more common as children grow older. However, rough play, especially during sporting activities, can lead to them getting hurt. These injuries can range anywhere from scrapes and bruises to minor traumas involving muscles, ligaments and tendons. As parents, it is important to have a basic understanding of these injuries and how to treat them.

Sprains vs. Strains

Though they are less common than bone fractures in children, two types of injuries children incur during rough play are sprains and strains.

Sprains most commonly affect the ankles, knees or wrists, and can develop by twisting or tearing ligaments during physical activity.

Strains are injuries to the muscles and tendons. They can be caused by overuse, excessive force or insufficient stretching.

Symptoms of Sprains and Strains

Though it is important to remember that each child may respond differently to symptoms, here are some general guidelines on what to look for in identifying a sprain and a strain:

  • Pain in the injured area
  • Noticeable swelling
  • Difficulty with normal motion
  • Warmth, bruising, or redness

What is the treatment for sprains or strains?

Your child's health, medical history, extent of the injury, tolerance to medications and therapies are all factors that can shape the nature of treatment for a sprain or strain.

Basic treatment involves providing rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Other treatment methods include:

  • the administration of medication
  • limiting sports activities
  • the use of crutches or a wheelchair
  • a regular schedule of physical therapy
  • surgical procedures for reoccurring injuries

As always, it is important to consult your child's health care provider for a verified diagnosis as well as a treatment plan customized to your child’s health needs.

Matthew Weiland, DO

Methodist Physicians Clinic - HealthWest

Matt Weiland, DO enjoys family medicine and treating all the members of a family - from newborns to seniors. He like the variety of treatments he sees through treating patients of varying ages. As a doctor of osteopathy, Dr. Weiland has received special training in the musculoskeletal system, the body's interconnected system of nerves, muscles and bones. Dr. Weiland is an active sportsman. He enjoys mountain biking, water and snow skiing, golf and scuba diving. ...

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