Sprains and Strains
Soft tissue injuries include injuries to the muscles, tendons and ligaments. Strains are caused by overstressing muscles or tendons. Sprains are a result of overstretching ligaments. Sprains and Strains can affect people of all ages and have varied results.
Symptoms of a Sprain or Strain
When the soft tissue is damaged there is usually pain swelling and often bruising. Initial treatment of these injuries is based on the principle of RICE. It is most important in the first 48-72 hrs after the injury has occurred.
- Rest – Rest and avoid activity that can cause significant pain (use of crutches or a sling may be needed).
- Ice – Apply ice every one to two hours for 15 – 20 minutes when awake. Avoid applying ice straight onto the skin. Instead wrap in a tea towel or cloth.
- Compression – Apply a firm bandage, being careful not to restrict circulation to the affected area. Make sure that the bandage covers the whole joint.
- Elevation – Where possible raise the limb above the level of your heart. Keep the limb supported with pillows, or a sling, to keep it raised when walking.
In the first 48-72 hours your child should avoid:
- Heat. It increases blood flow and swelling.
- Re-injury. Your child’s injury needs to be protected until it has healed.
- Massage. This promotes blood flow and swelling, it can increase the damage if started too early.
Soft tissue injuries can take from one to six weeks for a full recovery. This depends on your age, overall health and severity of the injury. Simple painkillers such as paracetamol should be adequate.