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Sprains and Strains

What is a sprain?

A sprain is a wrenching or twisting injury or tear to a ligament. Sprains often affect the ankles, knees, or wrists.

What is a strain?

A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon, and is often caused by overuse, force, or stretching.

What are the symptoms of a sprain or strain?

The following are the most common symptoms of a sprain or strain. However, each child may
experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • pain in the injured area (The child typically may guard or protect this area from being touched or looked at.)
  • swelling in the injured area
  • difficulty using or moving the injured area in a normal manner (The child may have limited use or may not use the injured area at all. The child may walk with a limp if the injury occurred in the hip, leg, ankle, or foot area.)
  • warmth, bruising, or redness in the injured area
  • The symptoms of a sprain or strain may resemble other conditions. Always consult your child’s physician for a diagnosis.

    Treatment for sprains or strains:

    Specific treatment for a sprain or strain will be determined by your child’s physician based on:

    • your child’s age, overall health, and medical history
    • extent of the injury
    • child’s tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
    • expectations for the course of the injury
    • your opinion or preference