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Children with their zeal to explore are always on their toes. They run around, jump and stretch their bodies. In certain cases, stretching too hard leads to minor injuries. When a child ends up over-stretching his muscles, it causes him strain.
When children are at play, they move about and stretch their bodies. Sometimes, over-stretching a muscle can lead to a strain, while over-stretching a ligament can lead to a sprain. As parents, it is vital to be careful and essential to treat the injuries immediately. Some basic strain relief medicines and creams should be kept handy in the first-aid kit.
Bones in our body meet at joints, like knees, shoulders and elbows; it’s only then that our body bends and rotates. Ligaments, which are strong elastic tissue bands, hold the bones together at these joints. Sprain happens if these ligaments are over-stretched or torn. Over-stretching may cause a mild pain, but if your child’s ligament is torn, it needs immediate medical help. Commonly, wrists, knees and ankles are found to develop sprains.
Difference between a Strain and Sprain
Though both these conditions would hurt your child in terms of the pain caused, strains don’t become too serious. This is because, strains are muscle pains, and may stay for sometime or for some hours. The affected area feels sore and can also get a little swollen. At times, it might appear to be bruised too.
On the other hand, a sprain would hurt your child right away. The injury usually looks swollen and bruised. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to move the injured area; it often feels like a broken bone.
Causes of Strains and Sprains
Strains happen when your child puts pressure on a muscle or pushes it too far, for instance, when he lifts up heavy objects. It can also happen when a child does intense activities without warming up the muscles properly. Playing some sport games or with soft-ball for the first time immediately after winters can strain your child’s calf and thigh muscles.
Sprains happen due to injuries, like having your ankle twisted. These injuries are common during sports, or when your child trips and falls.
Dealing with Sprains and Strains
- Stop your child from doing any kind of activity for a while. Rest his injured body part if you feel it’s a strain or sprain. Don’t let him move the injured body part. This means that he should avoid walking with a hurt ankle or avoid using a hurt arm.
- Apply cold packs to the injured body part. This helps in reducing the swelling.
- Put on an elastic compression and elevate the injured part to reduce and prevent swelling.
Most of the times, it is difficult to differentiate between a sprain and fracture. It is best to consult a doctor immediately. Your child may need emergency help. You will be able to make that out from the injured area, or through the extreme expressions of pain. So, the next time your little one has strained or sprained his limb, be ready to take the necessary steps!