How do you perform a first aid for your child in case of ligaments or sprains? Every parent goes through a panicky what-if scenarios in their mind when it comes to their children’s safety. However, there’s no need to worry if you remember just what your child needs when they are injured you should be worry-free!
Basic traumas in children
Small children often fall during the active games, but they rarely experience bone fractures. Small body weight and well developed soft tissue lessen the force of impact at fall. Specifics of bone and joint structure in children also prevents fractures. A child’s bones contain a lot less minerals than those in an adult. Thanks to this their bones have more elasticity and resilience. The bone is wrapped in a periosteal coverage like in a sleeve. A child’s periosteal coverage is thick, bendable and has a good blood circulation. When the bone breaks the periosteal coverage usually does not tear fully and prevents the bone shards from serious shifting. A child’s limbs and spine bones contain layers of the growth cartilage. This cartilage is called this because it is responsible for bone growth. The cartilage is bendable which also prevents bones from fracturing.
This kind of traumas are very rare in children during the first 3 years of life. The most typical sprains occur in ligaments of the ankle joints. It happens because of an awkward movement when a foot turns inside unnaturally. At this moment a child feels acute pain which calms gradually. However soon a swelling appears on the outer side of the ankle. Sometimes it might be bluish and tender to the touch. The joint movements are possible but they are restricted. The child favors the injured leg and steps on it with difficulty.
To provide first aid put a retentive 8-shaped bandage on the place and an ice pack for 2-3 hours on the place of injury. However the hairline fractures of the lower third of a shin-bone are more frequent in children of this age than sprains. The hairline fracture can be diagnosed only by an X-Ray examination. That’s why after providing first aid to your child you should immediately take him or her to the doctor or emergency room.
During an accident a joint sac might be torn and one of the bones would slip out of the joint cavity. Children have very resilient joint sacs and ligaments that’s why dislocations are very rare in the early childhood. You can identify a dislocation by the following signs: the usual outline of the joint is distorted, movements become extremely restricted, pain in the joint increases and the limb becomes shorter or longer than usual.
If your child has a dislocation or you suspect a dislocation you should provide maximum rest to the injured hand or leg, put a splint or a restricting bandage on it and take the child to the surgeon as fast as possible. If you would wait and waste time the fast growing swelling would make the reset of the joint very difficult. Besides a nerve or a blood vessel might get pinched between the bones which can lead to the grave consequences: paralysis or a limb necrosis. An unprofessional person should not attempt to reset a dislocated joint as sometimes it might be impossible to distinguish a dislocation from a bone fracture and in such case first aid attempt might do more harm than good to you child.
This injury is often happens in children of 2-3 years of life and is also called “a dislocation by stretching ”. The dislocation is caused by an abrupt pulling applied to an outstretched child’s hand in the upside or forward motion. If a child looses his or her footing or slips an adult tries to keep the child from falling by pulling on the hand he is holding while walking. Sometimes such stretching can happen during a game when adults spin a child around by holding his or her hands or during an attempt to put on clothes with too narrow sleeves. In some cases a crunch of the arm bones can be heard.
Whichever is the cause of injury, the child cries out in pain and immediately after that stops moving the arm, keeps it flattened along the body with the elbow bent a little. Movements of the forearm in the elbow joint are the most painful. This injury happens because the ligament that holds the radial bone is still weak in children. It will grow stronger by the age of 4-5 years and such injuries would not occur any more.
In most cases an incomplete dislocation reset is easy to perform. Carefully bend the elbow so the forearm is in a position of the right angle, hold the child’s injured hand by your equal hand and make rotatory motions with the child’s forearm. The child feels a little pain during the procedure and the person performing reset usually feels cracking or a slight crunching. Then the reset is done. The child calms immediately and in 1-2 minutes can move the arm and use freely as well as his or her good one. The retentive bandage is not necessary. But you should be careful and not walk the child by the injured hand. It is always better to use leading strings when walking with toddlers.
Traumatic dislocations of the bigger joints (hip, knee and shoulder joint) are extremely rare in children of 3 years old.
Another age old trick is R.I.C.E which stands for rest, ice, compress, and elevate. If you child is injured these are the best remedies to do at home.
When it comes to taking care of your children and an arm or leg seems swollen or red and you do not know how to treat it the best thing you can do is go to the doctor.
Based on the article “bones and joint injuries”.