How to Care for Your Child with a Sprain or Soft Tissue Injury

This leaflet will provide you with information about sprain or soft tissue injury symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

pdf icon Download this Guide


What is a sprain/ soft tissue injury?

Inside the joints, there are ligaments which are stretchy band that connect bones. A sprain happens when a ligament stretches or tears.

What are the symptoms of a sprain/ soft tissue injury?

The symptoms can include:

  • Pain and tenderness,
  • Swelling,
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty to move the injured limp

How is sprain/ soft tissue injury diagnosed?

The doctor will ask few questions about your child’s health and examine your child. Your doctor will decide if further investigations are required. X-ray is not always needed.

How is a sprain/ soft tissue injury treated?

A sprain can take a few days, weeks, or longer to feel better.

These actions will help the sprain to heal:

  • Pain killer: If your doctor advises giving medicine for pain, you can give:
    • Paracetamol (any brand) Or, Ibuprofen (any brand)
    • Follow the instruction on the medicine package for the correct dose for your child
    • Do not give your child Aspirin as this can cause a serious complication
  • Rest: Have your child rest the sprained area.
  • Ice: While your child is awake, place a bag of ice wrapped in a towel on the sprain for 15–20 minutes, 4–8 times a day. Do not put ice directly on the skin.
  • Compression: If the sprain is on an arm, leg, hand, or foot, wrap the injured area loosely in an elastic bandage. Do not wrap the sprain on the head, neck, or torso (chest or belly).
  • Elevation: Keep the sprained area above heart level by resting it on a pillow

When should I seek medical advice?

Seek medical advice if:

  • Your child’s injured limp looks deformed or crooked
  • Pain medicine is not helping your child
  • Your child’s pain does not get better after two weeks
  • Your child has less feeling than normal on the injured limp