Is it a fracture? Is it a sprain? What should I do? Being a parent involves a lot of difficult decisions. But deciding whether or not to take your child to the ER is not one of them.
“Sometimes it is extremely difficult to determine if it’s broken or not,” said Advance ER physician Dr. Thomas Vo. “Bring your son or daughter into Advance ER and we’ll diagnose it and give you a treatment plan that’s right for your child.”
Fractures and sprains have been the recipient of countless ages of grassroots advice, old wives’ tales and homespun adages. But who do you believe? The physicians at Advance ER have put together a list of 7 myths about childhood fractures and sprains to dispel.
- If he can move it, it’s not broken
This is the #1 myth that keeps children from receiving medical treatment for a broken bone or sprain. Often, kids can walk on the broken bone, especially if it is a small bone in the foot or ankle, or they can continue to use their arm or fingers. Movement is not a good indicator of bone health. An X-ray can tell you if there is a fracture, sprain, torn ligament or contusion.
- If it is broken, he will be in so much pain that I will know it’s broken
Your child may have a fracture that doesn’t present with much pain. Or the pain could be spread over a wider area, making it harder to know where the problem is located. “I’ve had mothers tell me that their daughter screams to high heaven over every little bump and bruise, but then when she has a fractured arm she barely even peeps,” said Dr. Vo. “An X-ray is really what you need to figure out the extent of the injury.”
- A fracture is smaller than a broken bone or less complicated than a cracked bone.
Fractures, cracks and broken bones are all the same. The confusion may come when someone describes his injury as a “hairline fracture” which may mean the fracture is better aligned than when the bones are drastically separated from something like a compound fracture maqzwpv.
- If it’s a finger or a toe, there’s no point in seeing the doctor
Because of their location and constant use, fingers and toes can suffer from fractures that can be difficult to heal properly. It is important to receive prompt medical attention to try to retain the full use of that digit.
- A sprain wrapped in an elastic bandage is good to go
Sprains are injured ligaments that may require just as much attention as a fracture. Your physician at Advance ER will be able to immobilize it properly and prescribe the right balance of rest, exercise, ice and elevation to speed you on your way to healing.
- Sprains need hot water soaks to feel better
While hot water may provide some temporary comfort, it can cause a lot of problems with swelling and pain. Ice water is what you need when you sprain your ankle. Ice will keep the swelling down, which is a major contributor to the discomfort. It will also help numb the pain receptors.
- Sprains are all a part of growing up and don’t need a doctor
While it’s true that children can sprain an ankle or wrist by being their normal, active selves, they still need medical attention to ensure it heals properly and doesn’t have any complications down the road.
What should I do if I think it might be a fracture or a sprain?
Both fractures and sprains need medical attention. Bring your child to Advance ER any time, day or night, for fast medical care. We have skilled emergency physicians as well as pediatricians available to treat your child with specialized care.
“Our child-friendly rooms are a big hit with the kids,” said Dr. Vo. “We offer snacks, drinks and video games in a fun atmosphere that will help calm and relax your son or daughter, and our physicians are all really good with kids.”