Bone And Muscle Injuries
Arms and legs are commonly injured in sports or play. The legs are injured most. Injuries occur to the skin, muscles, bones or ligaments. The skin injuries are cuts and scrapes. Most can be treated at home.
There are 2 main muscle injuries: strains and bruises.
- Strains are stretches and tears of muscles (such as shin splints in the front of the lower leg). Most are due to overexertion (as with strenuous sports or hiking). They can be cared for at home.
- Muscle bruises from a direct blow (such as a charley horse in the quad muscles) can also be cared for at home.
There are 3 main bone injuries: fractures, dislocations and bruises.
- Fractures or broken bones need splinting and medical care.
- Dislocation or bones out of joint also need medical care.
- Bone bruises from a direct blow (as to the hip or elbow) can be cared for at home.
Finally, sprains are stretches and tears of ligaments. A sprained ankle is a good example. They need medical care unless they're mild.
If your child has nothing more than a strained muscle, bruised muscle, bruised bone, or mild sprained ankle, here's what you can do to help.
- First: Apply crushed ice in a plastic bag or massage the area with ice for 20 minutes out of every hour. Ice treatment reduces bleeding, swelling, and pain. Repeat this hourly for 4 hours, then stop.
- Second: After 48 hours, use local heat for 10 minutes to help reabsorb the blood. Do this 3 times a day.
- Third: Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen 4 times a day for pain. Continue for at least 48 hours. Avoid aspirin which increases the tendency to bleed.
- Fourth: Rest the injured part as much as possible for 48 hours. After that, allow any activity that doesn't cause pain.
- Finally: For strained muscles, teach your youngsters how to stretch the quads, hamstrings, and calf muscles before strenuous activities. This can prevent future strains and sprains.
If you think your child may need to be seen, call your healthcare provider for advice.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.