The ankle is a very common spot for children to sprain. It usually occurs when they turn or twist in an awkward manner over stretching the ligaments. The ligaments help connect bone to bone keeping the joint firm and in place, preventing excessive movement. The most common ankle sprain is that of the lateral ligament, the ankle turns inward overstretching the lateral ligament. Ankle sprain ranges from mild (ligaments stretched slightly) to severe (ligaments torn completely), whichever way, it can be treated.
Signs your child has an ankle sprain:
- If child report twisting the ankle
- Swelling around the ankle joint or further away
- Pain around ankle joint or further away
- Limps slightly or unable to bear weight on the ankle joint
The greater the pain and swelling, the more severe the injury.
What to do:
The first aid is based on R.I.C.E treatment
- Rest: the injured ankle should be put to rest, avoid unnecessary movement. A crutch may be used if necessary to relieve pressure and support from the injured ankle
- Ice: use ice on the injured ankle, make sure ice is not used directly on the skin it should be wrapped in a towel. Ice should be applied 15 to 20min several times a day for the next 3days or until swelling reduces.
- Compression: an elastic bandage should be used to compress the injured area. It should not be too tight as to prevent blood flow. It should be firmly tied above the ankle to the foot without covering the toes.
- Elevation: raised ankle helps reduce swelling, a pillow should be put under the ankle when lying or sitting.
Paracetamol is enough to relieve your child’s pain. Any other drug you may want to use should be prescribed by your doctor. Ankle exercises are also helpful in the healing process. Your physiotherapist can prescribe exercises that would aid the healing process. HEAT should not be used in the first 48 to 72 hours of injury as this may increase swelling.
If pain and swelling have not improved after a few days report to your doctor or physiotherapist for proper examination of the ankle joint.
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