When it comes to kids, accidents can always happen. This is especially true if you’ve got rambunctious little ones who like to tear around the house or the athletic field.
Since we can’t put them in head-to-toe bubble-wrap, we have to know what to do when an accident occurs. One of the most common types of injuries is a twisted ankle.
Is it a sprained ankle or broken ankle?
Sprains can hurt really badly and the first time a child experiences this pain, they may think they’ve broken their ankle. More than likely, you will find out it’s a sprain.
A sprained ankle is caused when the ligaments in your foot are pulled too much. Ligaments naturally have some “give” to them, but a sprain occurs when they are pulled too much sometimes causing them to tear.
There are actually 3 grades for sprains:
Grade 1—The least serious type, a grade 1 sprain is usually sore with some mild to moderate swelling.
Grade 2—In this type, the ligaments will tear partially, but not all the way. Putting weight on your foot is painful and the joint may not feel solid enough to support your body.
Grade 3—This one is really painful because the ligaments in your ankle are torn completely through. With a grade 3, you are looking at a longer recovery and you will not be able to support your weight on the foot for a while.
Broken ankle—This is entirely different as your bone actually cracks or snaps. With this, you won’t be able to stand at all and you will need a cast until the bones mend.
How do you treat a twisted ankle?
If you have twisted or sprained your ankle, you should try the R.I.C.E. method for treating it.
This stands for:
REST—Get off your feet immediately and take it easy. If you try to go back to playing or participating in a sport too quickly, you will likely re-injure it and make it worse. The first thing you need to do is just stop and rest.
ICE—You may have heard that you should put a heating pad on a sprain, but don’t. The best thing to do is put an ice pack on as soon as possible. Keep it on for at least 15 minutes at first. After that, you should do 15 minutes on, 15 off ice therapy for the first 24 hours at least, while they are awake of course. For the little kids, this is a long time so realistically, we like to say leave it on for as long as they can tolerate it.
COMPRESS—Apply an elastic bandage or support to your ankle to keep the swelling down. Be careful with this though. If you compress it too tightly, you may cut off circulation to your foot. Be sure you can slip a finger under the bandage.
ELEVATE—When you lay down, keep your foot elevated so that it is higher than your heart. This will help the swelling go down as fluid is drained off. This is especially useful to do at night while you are in bed.
Follow the R.I.C.E. method to help treat your child’s twisted ankles. But remember, if it is severe or if the pain and swelling persists, you should always follow up with a doctor.
Be Prepared for Sprains, Breaks and Twisted Ankles!