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Foot and ankle injuries in children

Foot and ankle injuries in children

  • October 13, 2021

For children, playing is as natural as breathing. As soon as children can stand, they dodge imaginary enemies and win races against invisible friends.

It is a common scenario in many households …….

Your child comes home after playing, limps and complains of pain near the feet or ankles. As a parent, you immediately worry, could it just be a sprain, a strain or, worse, a broken one?

Playing sports like soccer or basketball – even jumping from a moving swing in the playground – or walking around can cause a sprain or fracture. Excessive use of certain muscles can cause painful stress. So how do you tell the difference between a strain, a sprain, or a fracture?

The foot has 26 bones and at least 19 major joints. In a child, all of these bones are still growing, joints and ligaments are still maturing. The most common injuries we see in children are:

Growth plate injuries and fractures / fractures— Growth plates are areas of cartilage that are located near the ends of the bones. They are the last part of a child’s bones to harden and are therefore particularly susceptible to injury within the growing skeleton.

  • Sprains – Our joints are held together by a structure called a “ligament”. Any injury to a ligament is called a sprain
  • Pulled muscles – stretched or torn muscles.
  • Overuse Injuries – Your joint or other tissue is put under excessive strain, often by “overdoing” an activity or repeating an equivalent activity over and over again.

“If you are not very familiar with the anatomy of a child’s foot, it is difficult to tell the difference between sprains, strains and fractures in children,” but “It is more important that people understand the urgency, if any, of the injury to your child. must be specialized “.”

When does your child need a doctor?

  1. Significant swelling.
  2. Bone misalignment or an improperly shaped foot or ankle.
  3. Severe pain that cannot be relieved with rest.
  4. Your child cannot walk, move their ankle, or put weight on them.
  5. Your child’s skin color changes (the ankle or foot turns blue).
  6. Deafness.
  7. Bleeding or a crack in the skin.

“These are all signs of serious injury that require immediate treatment.” Your child will need an x-ray or higher imaging and may need a splint, brace, boot, or cast. If the growth plate is seriously injured or damaged, surgery may also be necessary. “

Which injuries do not require urgent medical treatment?

If the pain is not severe, there is full freedom of movement of the ankle, no misalignment, there is no need to rush to the doctor

All parents need to know the correct first aid method to help their child. Do you know the simple RICE method:

  • Quiet – as it sounds. Stay away from the injured ankle to prevent further damage.
  • Ice – Apply a cold pack or ice pack (in a towel) for up to twenty minutes to reduce swelling and relieve pain. Repeat four to eight times a day.
  • Compression – Wrap a bandage or compression wrap around the ankle to reduce swelling.
  • Elevation – Keep your foot and ankle raised by placing them on a pillow or other elevated surface above the heart to reduce swelling and pain.

“Avoid any massage with oils or solutions. If at any point the symptoms worsen, it is time to seek help.

A common question we are asked on a regular basis is how to prevent such injuries …

The best way to help your child avoid ankle injuries is to be in the correct physical condition for sport and play. Encourage a warm-up before the activity. Get enough rest. Stay hydrated. Eating right and importantly wearing suitable footwear.

We at SRCC Children’s Hospital, which is managed by Narayana Health, provide specialized care in all aspects of pediatric injury whole process.

Dr. Avi Shah | Specialist – orthopedics, orthopedic-pediatrics | SRCC Children’s Hospital, Mumbai

Thank You For Reading!


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