26 Feb 2018

The Christmas break seems a distant memory, and with half term around the corner, many children will be looking forward to getting out of the classroom and going out to play.

Being active and playing sport is good for your child’s health – it builds confidence, social skills and improves concentration and learning. It also maintains a healthy weight and helps aid sleep.

But, with all the running around comes the likelihood of trips and falls for both you and your children. NHS St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) want to make sure you know how to treat minor strains and sprains at home.

Dr Hilary Flett at the CCG, said: “If your child shows signs of an ankle sprain or strain they are likely to have some pain, swelling, bruising and tenderness around the joint or in the muscle. They may also find it difficult to move the joint.

“Most sprains and strains are relatively minor and can be treated at home with self-care techniques, just remember ‘PRICE’.”

Protect the injury by
Resting the area for at least 48 hours
Ice packs should be used on the first day of getting the injury for 20 minutes, up to eight times – a bag of frozen peas wrapped up in a tea towel does the job well
Compress with a bandage
Elevating the injury for an hour or so will also help the recovery and decrease the swelling.

Dr Hilary Flett continued: “For sprains and strains you don’t immediately need to get emergency help, just follow the PRICE steps and take some paracetamol which you can get from your local pharmacy. The injury should start to settle.

“Sprains and strains can take up to four weeks to recover so you may need to rest their injury and play more gently for a while.

“If you have used these measures and a child is in a lot of pain, they may need to see a health professional. To make sure you go to the right service, you can call NHS 111 which is free from any network and available 24/7, here they will be able to give you advice about what to do next or where is the best place to go for further assessment and treatment.”

For more information about treating sprains and strains, NHS Choices – www.nhs.uk