How to Treat Your Child's Sprained Ankle

The duties of motherhood are immeasurable and practically perpetual. Even into adulthood, mothers will care for their children well after they believe they no longer need her maternal guidance.

However, while they’re children they will almost always end up in need of their mother. Children are particularly hazardous to their own health, eating and doing things that they shouldn’t or injuring themselves with an uncanny lack of effort.

One of those injuries that almost everyone has seemed to have had during childhood, is a sprained ankle. A time when mothers assume one of their many alter egos and become a super-nurse. If your child just limped indoors for the first time and you’re unsure of what to do, don’t worry — you got this.

How Do I Know If It’s A Sprain?

Sprains occur when the ligaments in the ankle are overextended or torn due to a movement outside of their normal capability. More often then not, a sprained ankle is a result of an inward rolling of the ankle and accounts for over 80% of ankle sprains.

  • In order to tell if your child’s ankle has been sprained:

  • Ask them if they have a jolt of sharp pain if they try to put weight on the afflicted foot;

  • Find out if the pain is coming from the inside or outside of the ankle;

  • Look to see if there is any bruising or swelling at or around the ankle; and

  • See if they’re able to move their foot within the range of motion they normally have

If any of these tests indicate that your child may have sprained their ankle, then the next step is treatment.

Treating The Sprain

There is a common acronym for the process of treating an ankle: R.I.C.E.

Rest: The number one thing you child will need to do is get off of their feet. They’ll need to limit the amount of weight they put on the ankle and shouldn’t walk unless necessary. If they do need to walk, crutches should be used to minimize the strain on the ankle.

Ice: This will reduce the inflammation of the injury, but you shouldn’t ice the injury for more than 20 minutes at a time. Place a thin piece of cloth between the ice bag and the skin to avoid frostbite as well.

Compression: Wrap the ankle in some type of elastic or athletic bandage to help reduce the swelling. This can also help keep the ankle stable and reduce accidental movement. Remove the bandage or loosen it significantly at bedtime. 

Elevate: Prop your child’s foot up at a level above their waist with soft pillows or something similar.

However, if you notice any of the following signs, you should take them to the emergency room right away.

  • The joint looks odd or deformed;
  • Your child is pale or has a unstable pulse; 
  • Your child experiences extreme pain, a tingling sensation, or paralysis. 

Your child may not always believe that they need you, but you’ll always know that they do.

1 Comment

  1. jjmon2012
    April 25, 2018 / 7:04 pm

    Good information to have. Would also be smart to have a cheat sheet in the first aid box

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