Whether your child is getting ready for basketball season on the courts at the Woodland Community Center or playing soccer with his or her teammates at the Independence Heights Community Center, accidents can strike at any time. September is one of the most prominent times for sports injuries, what with kids having just started recreational activities for the fall, and they suffer from scrapes, bruises, and even broken bones all of the time.
When to Treat Injuries at Home vs. When You Should Seek Medical Attention
- If it’s a bruise, let it heal up on its own. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, but the general rule of thumb is to let the body do its things to handle these minor black-and-blue markings. A bruise is simply a small injury to tiny blood vessels called capillaries, and this minor trauma releases blood that gets trapped below the skin’s surface. In most cases, an ER can’t do anything for these types of injuries other than tell you to ice it, compress it with an elastic bandage, and elevate it to reduce any further swelling. Speaking of swelling…
- Handle sprains with caution, but there’s no need to seek medical attention unless the pain or swelling is severe. There are three grades of sprains. A grade-one sprain is minor and could heal up in a matter of days, while a grade-three sprain is sometimes considered worse than a break and might require surgery. If your child suffers a twisted ankle or a hyperextended wrist, be sure to pull them from the activity that caused the injury immediately. Ibuprofen can help with swelling in the short term, as can ice, elevation, and compression. If the site of injury does not improve after 24-48 hours of rest-related therapy, or if you see dark bruising at the site of the incident (this is one of the few exceptions to the bruising rule), it may be time to consult a professional to assess the severity of the damage.
- Proceed with caution when dealing with knee injuries. Sometimes, knee injuries are nothing more than a bruise or hyperextension. Other times, children suffer from injuries that require surgery and long recoveries, such as ACL and meniscus tears. These are the sorts of injuries that need to be diagnosed via imaging and handled by a professional. The ligaments that bind the knee provide crucial stability, and without proper treatment, children could find that they are hampered for years to come. If your child suffers from a knee injury that prevents them from walking or running, you’ll want to take a trip your local 24/7 ER.
- Concussions are dangerous, but not all head-related injuries are created equal. CTE has been a major focal point of the sports industry these past few years, so it is only natural for parents to wonder whether they should take their child to the ER when signs of a possible concussion arise. Kids bump their heads all the time in sports – it’s part of the game (literally, at times). Should you take them to the hospital for every head-related injury they suffer? Probably not. But if they have been knocked unconscious, or if they begin vomiting, it’s time to see a doctor. If you are unsure as to whether you should have your child tested for a concussion, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Breaks must be fixed right away. Breaks are relatively easy to diagnose, especially when they impact the extremities. They are acute in nature, and they are typically easy to spot due to the way they misshape the skin. If your child is in excruciating pain at the sight of the deformity, chances are they have suffered from a break, and you need to seek medical attention right away.
It’s important to know when an injury is severe enough to warrant a trip to a local emergency room. After all, you can’t take them to the ER every time they say something hurts, right?
The Heights Emergency Room, located in Houston, TX, is equipped to treat any severe injury your child may have suffered. For more information on how to determine whether your child needs to visit the emergency room, call 713-588-0320.