"NINJURIES": They're the injuries sustained by kids who are imitating the moves seen on "American Ninja Warrior." But, they're also just the common bumps, bruises, and sprains so often sustained by active kids.
MOST COMMON NINJURIES are sprains, strains, or breaks in the wrists and ankles:
1. Sprains are a stretch and/or tear of a ligament, the tissue connecting two bones. Ligaments stabilize and support the body's joints. 2. Strains are a twist, pull, and/or tear of a muscle and/or tendon. Tendons are cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones. 3. Breaks are a fracture, splinter, or complete break in bone, often caused by accidents, sports injuries, or bone weakness. INITIAL TREATMENT for all these traumas is the same, "RICE":
1. Rest. It's important to rest the ankle or wrist to prevent further damage and keep weight off of it. 2. Ice. Using ice will help slow or reduce the swelling and provide a numbing sensation that will ease the pain. Proper icing includes icing within 48 hours of an injury. Never leave ice on for longer than 15 minutes to 20 minutes at a time to prevent frostbite. Wait 40 minutes to 45 minutes before applying ice again to allow tissues to return to normal temperature and sensation. Repeat as needed. You can apply an ice compress using a plastic freezer bag filled with ice cubes and water to mold to your ankle or use a frozen bag of veggies like corn or peas. (Don't eat them after you use them and refreeze them.) Use a layer of towel between your skin and the plastic bag. 3. Compression. Wrapping the injured ankle with an elastic bandage or off-the-shelf compression wrap will help keep it immobile and supported. Be sure not to wrap the ankle too tightly. If your toes that turn blue get cold or lose sensation, the wrap is too tight. 4. Elevate. Elevating the injured ankle to at least the level of your heart will reduce swelling and pain. Remember, the goal of "RICE" is to MINIMIZE SWELLING at the damaged joint. A COMMON MISTAKE PARENTS MAKE: Applying heat immediately following an injury. Sometimes we think that soothing heat makes things feel better, but it's actually causing more swelling which will make the injury take LONGER to heal. So, get that ICE on ASAP. DO NOT apply heat for the first 48 hours.
TIME FRAME: If the pain begins IMMEDIATELY with injury, more likely to be a break. An ankle sprain may feel awkward initially, but won't really act up UNTIL activity stops and the swelling builds. So, if the limp doesn't start until that night, more likely a SPRAIN. The reality is, it can be VERY hard to differentiate between a sprain or a break, particularly in kids. So, let them tell you. If they're in a lot of pain, keeping weight off the joint, then it's time to see the doctor and get an X-ray.
If it is a sprain, wait until the swelling is GONE before returning to activity. And remember, injuries are a part of childhood. It's good that your child is active. Make them as safe as possible and then encourage them to go for it! Watch episodes of "American Ninja Warrior" on nbc.com.