Sports injuries– who to call
Not only is school back in session, but so are sports. The urgent care hours are filling up with sports injuries. You are one of two types of parents… The run into the office an hour after the injury kind of parent, or the wait until your child’s leg is falling off before making an appointment kind of parent. Of course there is a small, almost extinct group of parents that will wait a few days with proper rest and treatment of symptoms with pain control before making the appointment.
Resting a sports injury
The best advice I can give is bump into that almost extinct group. Give your child’s injury a few days. REST that injury. Do not let Susie play 5 more games of soccer on her hurt ankle. Make her rest. Johnny can’t be a pro football player if he tears his ACL because he was playing on a hurt body part. The fact is that a minor injury needs to be rested to PREVENT a worse injury from occurring. When you continue using a hurt body part, your otherwise strong stable body becomes unstable and your risk of re-injury or injuring another part of the body goes up dramatically. You have FIVE to SEVEN whole days to have a fracture casted before your healing is affected in most cases.
Sports injuries– decrease the swelling
The next reason for resting for a day or so is to decrease swelling. An x-ray done the same day as an injury may be unclear because of all the swelling. Give your child’s injury some time to settle down. Ice the injury to help with pain and swelling (15 minutes at a time, 4-5 times a day). Elevate it to help decrease swelling and allow the body to heal. A minor injury that is rested and cared for, will self resolve. Any major issue or fracture will have persistent pain that will not improve with a few days rest.
Compression with an ace bandage combined with ice and elevation will allow the swelling to come down. If you walk around all day on a hurt foot, its likely to be very swollen as all the fluid pools near the ground where your foot spends most of the day. If you elevate, you will allow proper drainage and flow and decrease swelling (lift high enough to counter-balance gravity, so preferably above the level of your heart). Motrin will help with pain and inflammation as well.
When to get that sports injury checked
Let’s talk dramatic child. If your 15 year old claims his hand is broken, but can play video games for 5 hours, then you can worry less. You can’t play video games for hours with a broken hand. If your sports fanatic daughter who never misses a practice says she needs to get her foot checked because she can’t walk, it might be time to get looked at. Don’t ignore them! Pay attention to your child. It’s amazing what you will learn when you observe your child.
What does my x-ray mean?
Once you come into the office, either urgent care or your pediatrician, your child will have an exam. Based on this, the provider may decide to x-ray the injured body part. The x-ray will let us see if there is a clear break. You will need to see orthopedics if the x-ray shows a fracture, as well as if there is a high clinical suspicion of a fracture but the x-ray appears normal. Some fractures are radiopaque which means they don’t show up on the x-ray film. If your x-ray is normal but your pain is getting worse or lasts longer than 5-7 days, then an orthopedic visit is in order.
If your x-ray is normal, and the pain improves with rest, ice, Motrin and elevation, then WHOHOO. This is what we hoped would happen. Once you are pain free, head back to that field! Game’s on!
Rest that injury!
The key to injury, like I said, is to REST. A rested injury should improve. If it doesn’t, then it’s time for a visit in urgent care, your pediatrician and potentially a specialist.
We shouldn’t have to say this, BUT if there is a bone sticking out, your child appears clammy or ill appearing after an injury, there are color changes to the area, skin is cold to touch, or you have an immediate concern, take them in. Parent’s intuition is often right. You know your child best! Don’t let a coach, relative or friend push your child to play while injured. Take care of those little bodies! Nothing is more important than a healthy body.
If you have questions about a sports injury, for your child or yourself, feel free to reach out to the nurses at Nurse-1-1!
Nurse-1-1 Health Center is written by nurses in a straight to the point type of way to provide basic health information. We get a lot of people like you searching online for answers to health concerns or looking for a hotline to ask a nurse a few questions. Questions like, I have been suffering from headache and fatigue for a while. Should I be worried? What is the the difference between a common cold vs flu? Is fever in kids bad? Well we can help. We put some info here for you to find while searching through all that other dry, scary medical information online. Stop that. Read our posts, or chat with us. This is not medical advice or a replacement for medical care, but see what we have to say with our free health information, and hopefully it will stop you from scaring yourself any more than you already have. We can help.