Teens involved in sports may often witness falls in some way or the other, in some cases these may result in minor injuries too. Strains and sprains are such two types of injuries that teenagers face while getting involved in vigorous physical activities. These may not be too serious, but warrant care as they can cause pain and discomfort to the teen.
Sprain in Teenagers
This is a common injury with physically active teens. It involves injuries to ligaments which are thick, flexible fibrous connective tissue which connects two bones or cartilages or holds together a joint. Every ligament is responsible in holding one part of the bone next to the other. As long as the bones move in the right manner, ligaments do their job properly.
However, when the bones get twisted or moved in an unusual manner, the ligament stretches, tears off and in some cases breaks into two. As ligaments are living tissues, they lead to instant swelling and lot of pain. This further leads to the stretching of a joint, which then is not able to take any kind of weight or pressure. It makes the person snap immediately causing sudden pain.
Causes of Sprain in Teenagers
A common sprain injury includes swelling, bruising and pain of the joint that is affected. The most common form of it is known as twisted ankle. This is often caused when your teen hikes, plays basketball or runs for a long period. In certain cases, it is caused when the teen steps on an uneven surface and end up rolling his foot on the inside; leading to stretching of the ligament present on the ankle known as talofibular and calcaneofibular.
Treatment of Sprains in Teenagers
Most doctors suggest a combination of treatments for sprains known as RICE. It stands for R (Rest), I (Ice), C (Compression) E (Elevation).
It involves complete rest for at least 3 days. You must ensure that your teen does not walk until necessary and if he does, he uses crutches so that there is less pressure or weight on the affected joint.
This involves, using a moist washcloth wrapped in ice pack. Apply it on the teen’s injured joint for around 15-20 minutes for the initial 3 days. This provides relief from any type of swelling caused by inflammation. However, always remember to pack the ice nicely before applying; placing it directly on the skin can cause frostbite.
It involves using an elastic bandage around the affected joint. You need to learn it from a professional, so that it is wrapped properly, and it should not stop blood flow or squeeze the joint. You can also teach your teen to unwrap it and re-wrap whenever necessary. Note that it does not make your affected joint any stronger so even after wrapping it, your teen needs to take proper rest.
This involves raising the impacted joint, right up to the heart level. The teen can easily use a sling in case of wrist or arm sprain. However when leg is involved, the teen can use a pillow to raise the level. Elevation is necessary in order to discourage swelling or accumulation of blood in the area.
Strain in Teenagers
This includes injury in tendons or muscles. Tendons are strong cord resembling sinews, that are responsible for attaching muscles to the bones that they move. It starts paining when the tendon stretches or tears. It may pain immediately or after a few days. Many people do not notice it instantly, as there are other muscles present that contribute in stabilising that joint.
Cause of Strains in Teenagers
Strains occur when the teen pulls a muscle in one particular direction, while it is contracting in the other direction; this is known as eccentric contraction. This takes places when your teen is involved in chronic activities that may overstretch his muscle fibers. Activities like basketball, football, gymnastics etc. are common causes of strains.
Treatment of Strains in Teenagers
These are not as serious as sprains; however experts would still recommend that you ice the affected area for initial 3 days. This can be followed by heat packs in certain cases. Another way to treat them is by using a hot water bottle. Some people also get relief from a massage, so you can give one to your teen.
Seek Expert Help
A sprain or a strain warrants medical attention if:
- The pain is prolonged one
- Pain has started to develop in surrounding areas
- The teen is not able to move the joint at all
- It is becoming worse; showing redness or swelling
So, make sure you take immediate action if you see any of these signs in your teenagers. Remember: do not delay as it may lead to serious consequences.