It’s springtime in the Bronx and after a long winter of hibernation and too much snow, the kids are eager to get out and play. Our kids who are playing spring sports such as baseball, soccer and lacrosse are playing hard, and so it s is a time of year where we see injuries, especially sprains, broken bones and concussions.

How to Know if it’s a Break or a Sprain:

broken bone will require emergency medical care. Your child might have a broken (fractured) bone if he or she heard or felt a bone snap, has difficulty moving the injured part, or if the injured part moves in an unnatural way or is very painful to the touch.

sprain occurs when the ligaments or tendons, which hold bones together, are overstretched and/or partially torn. A strain is when a muscle or tendon is overstretched or torn. Sprains and strains generally cause swelling and pain, and there may be bruises around the injured area but will not show up in an x-ray.

How to Treat a Sprain:

Most sprains and strains, after proper medical evaluation, can be treated at home using the RICE method: rice-rest-ice-compress-elevate

Rest: for at least 24 hours, rest the injured part of the body.

Ice: (or cold compresses): apply for up to 10-15 minutes at a time every few hours for the first 2 days to prevent swelling.

Compress: wear an elastic bandage (such as an ACE bandage) for at least 2 days to reduce swelling.

Elevate: keep the injured part above heart level as much as possible to ease swelling

Do not apply heat in any form for at least 24 hours after an injury. Heat increases swelling and pain.

If You Suspect a Broken Bone:

  • Do not move a child whose injury involves the neck, back, or legs, unless they are in imminent danger as movement can cause serious nerve damage. Phone for emergency medical help instead. If the child must be moved, the neck and back must be completely immobilized first. Keeping the head, neck, and back in alignment, move the child together as one unit.
  • If you must move the child , apply splints around the injured limb to prevent further injury. Leave the limb in the position you find it. Makeshift splints can be made by using a board, broomstick, cardboard, a spatula, or anything firm, and can be padded with pillows, shirts, towels, or anything soft you have lying around. Splints must be long enough to extend beyond the joints above and below the fracture.
  • If you see an open break (bone protrudes through the skin) or an obvious deformity under the skin, call 911 immediately.
  • If there is a lot of bleeding, apply pressure on the bleeding area with a gauze pad or a clean piece of clothing or other material. Don’t clean the wound or try to push back any part of the bone that may be sticking out.
  • Place cold packs or a bag of ice wrapped in cloth on the injured area.
  • Keep the child lying down until medical help arrives. If he or she gets lightheaded, try to position the head at a slightly lower level than the chest, and if you can, lift the legs.

An x-ray will determine whether a bone is broken or sprained. At AFC Urgent Care Bronx we have state of the art x-ray equipment and our providers will give you a copy of the x-ray on a CD to bring to an orthopedist should you need one.

If there is any need for an evaluation, x-ray or treatment feel free to come into our urgent care center at 843 Hutchison River Parkway, in the new Throggs Neck Shopping Plaza across from Target. No appointment necessary, but you might want to register online to save time.