Children, compared to adults, burst forth with so much energy every day. There seems to be no stopping them, especially when they are able to walk on their own. The toddler may be the most challenging stage for parents as these are the days when the tiny tots begin to walk and run around. Most children are able to walk well by the time they reach 14 or 15 months old, but this does not mean that they are not at risk of taking a misstep or falling down, sometimes resulting in a sprained ankle. No matter how careful and mindful a parent may be in watching over their child, accidents can still happen.
Having an injured child can be difficult. It can be even more challenging when the child is not yet able to communicate and express what the feel fully with words. If you are a parent who is looking for a sprained ankle treatment for your child, you have arrived at the right page. This PhysioActive article lays out what you can do to ease your child’s pain and when to see the doctor.
Ankle Sprain: what you should know
An ankle sprain happens when the ligaments in the ankle become overly stretched or torn due to an abrupt twist, roll, or abnormal movement of the foot. This is a common injury that happens to children and is most likely to occur when they are jumping or running.
Signs that your child may have a sprained ankle
Below are the most obvious signs that your child has a sprained ankle:
- Inability of the injured ankle to carry weight
- Inflammation in the ankle caused by damage to the soft tissue, which builds up within minutes or hours following the injury
- Pain around the ankle
Applying first aid to a sprained ankle
Right after an injury, the sprained ankle can be cared for by applying first aid using the RICE principle. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
- Rest – Allow the injured area to rest and be free from any movement or activities that can cause more discomfort or pain. Be sure to assist the child when there is a need to walk or carry them so as not to put weight on the harmed foot. For much older children, crutches may be of help.
- Ice – The injured area should be treated with cold compress for at least 10 to 15 minutes every two to four hours in the following two to three days. Take some ice and wrap them in a cloth or a towel before placing on the skin. Wrapping the ice in towel avoids further harm to the ankle as ice that is placed directly on the skin can burn it. Also, make sure that your child is awake when you do cold compress. If your child feels reduced sensation, has vascular disease or diabetes, consult with a doctor prior to the application of ice to the area.
- Compression – Bind the area firmly with a bandage slightly above the ankle down to the foot, with the toes left exposed. This should help stop the inflammation of the ankle. The bandage should not be wrapped tightly so as not to cause further pain or any disruption to circulation.
- Elevation – Lessen the inflammation of the injured foot by elevating the ankle above the heart’s level. Use a pillow to prop the foot whenever the child is at rest.
When to see your doctor
A mildly sprained ankle usually responds to home treatments and may be healed in no time. A sprained ankle normally recovers in about one or two weeks. Do contact your doctor when the sprained ankle exhibits the following:
- A cracking or popping sound is heard when the injury occured
- Your child’s ankle is unable to carry on weight placed on it right after the injury
- Your child’s ankle feels tender and pain whenever the ankle bones are pressed
- The ankle is obviously deformed
- The foot of your child is numb
- The pain in your child’s ankle is intolerable and uncontrollable
- The pain experienced by your child remains the same after some days, even with home treatment
What to expect when your child sees a doctor to check on the sprained ankle
A visit to the doctor can be intimidating to a child. Explaining to them the things that they should expect prior to your consultation can help lessen their fears. Here are the things that the doctor can perform on the day of your visit:
- Examination of the child’s injured ankle
- X-ray test performed on the sprained ankle
- Prescription of medication for pain management
- Recommendation of the use of braces or tape for the ankle, if needed
Camden Medical Centre #11-05
+65 6235 2647