Cold or Hot? Treating Strains and Sprains

by Scotty
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Strains and Sprains

Kids are getting ready for a season of running, skating, spiking, batting, dunking, bending and kicking. The result is often strain and sprains. Here’s some advice on treating them. Physicians report that more than four million children are rushed to the emergency rooms each year for treatment of sports-related injuries. According to doctor’s parents and coaches can follow easy, quick treatments on the sidelines and at home to start the recovery process.Thebasic treatment for strains and sprains is a two-part process and can be remembered by the acronyms RICE and MSA. RICE–Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation–is the first step and treats the acute pain or injury. MSA–Movement, Strength and Alternate activity–heals the injury more completely and prevents further problems. Here areDoctor’shome care tips:* Rest the injury by not putting weight on it for at least 24 to 48 hours.* Use crutches, slings or taping a sprained finger or toe to a healthy one to support the muscle, ligament or tendon tissue.* While heat feels nice, it does more harm than good. Use ice to reduce the pain and swelling during the first 24 hours.* For a sprain or joint injury, use a compression sleeve or an elastic (Ace) bandage to immobilize the injury. Make sure it is not too tight or it will cause more swelling and could reduce circulation of blood.* Elevate the injured area on pillows while ice is applied and any time the child is sitting or lying down. Anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen) may help ease inflammation and pain. Remember, do not give aspirin to children or teenagers.* Begin the MSA process as soon as the initial pain and swelling have subsided. To begin the movement phase, begin moving the joint after one or two days of rest. Gentle stretching helps prevent scar tissue, which forms as the injury heals.* Once the swelling is gone, begin gradual exercises to strengthen the injured area.* Bleeding, continued pain, inability to move the joint and inability to bear weight on the injured limbs are all indications to see your physician. “While these are reliable steps to follow, there are instances when a health professional should be called,” it is said. Definitely call a doctor if the pain is still severe after two days of home treatment; your child cannot bear weight on a sprained ankle after 24 hours or if it hurts to bear weight after three days; and, if a sprain does not improve after four days of home treatment.

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