Whether they slipped and fell or injured themselves while playing a game or sport, an ankle sprain is a common injury for many children. Thankfully, this injury is not life-threatening, even though your child may be crying and complaining of enormous pain. As a parent, you will want to protect your child from further discomfort and ease their pain in any way possible. However, it is important to remain calm, since your own panic can make your child even more stressed. This guide will help you understand what to do when your child sprains their ankle.
Ice the Ankle
When your child first injures their ankle, comfort them with your words calmly. This will help your child not panic even though you may be panicking on the inside.
Then, add some ice to a plastic bag or wrap a few cubes of ice in a cloth and hold on your child's ankle. The ice will numb the pain while improving blood flow through the ankle, easing away inflammation and swelling until you are able to get medical care.
Head to Urgent Care
There are some parents who will panic and rush their child to the emergency room for help. There are other parents who will just ice the ankle and allow their child to rest. While you do not have to panic and rush to the hospital, you should have the ankle addressed by medical professionals to ensure it is sprained and not fractured.
A fracture is a fracture in the bone, which will require more care and treatment to recover. In most cases, fractures will require between 4 to 8 weeks to heal, but medical treatment is necessary. The ankle may need to be realigned before it is placed in a splint or cast.
The only way to determine if the ankle is fractured is with an x-ray, but this test can be done at your local urgent care facility instead of the emergency room of a hospital. If the x-ray determines there is no fracture and it is just sprained, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (R.I.C.E) will be recommended by the doctor.
Make sure your child does not use their affected ankle while they are healing. They should avoid placing any pressure or weight on the ankle. This resting phase is the key part of their recovery.
Icing the ankle will numb the pain. Compression bandages may also be placed on the ankle by the doctor. This compression phase will ease swelling, helping the sprain heal.
Finally, elevating the ankle is helpful while resting. Elevating the ankle on a pillow will boost blood flow, reducing inflammation and swelling while easing away your child's pain.