Hip Sprain in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Bones of the pelvis and hip joints

A hip sprain occurs when your child stretches or tears ligaments around his or her hip. Ligaments are tough tissues that connect one bone to another. Your child can injure a hip in a fall, while running, or during sports that involve twisting or sudden direction changes, such as basketball or soccer.

Most minor hip sprains get better with treatment at home.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • If your doctor gave your child crutches or a walker, be sure they are used as directed.
  • Be sure your child rests and protects the hip. Try to stop or reduce any actions that cause your child pain.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on your child's hip for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when your child is awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your child's skin.
  • Be safe with medicines. Give pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • For the first day or two after an injury, make sure your child avoids things that might increase swelling, such as hot showers, hot tubs, or hot packs.
  • After 2 to 3 days, if swelling is gone, put a warm moist cloth on your child's hip before he or she does light stretches. The warmth will help your child move the hip.
  • Have your child do exercises to make the hip stronger, as directed by your doctor or physiotherapist.
  • Make sure your child returns to his or her usual level of activity slowly.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child's pain is worse.
  • Your child cannot walk or stand without help.
  • Your child has signs of infection, such as a fever or increased pain, swelling, redness, or warmth in the hip.
  • Your child has signs of a blood clot, such as:
    • Pain in the calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
    • Redness and swelling in the leg or groin.
  • Your child has tingling, weakness, or numbness in the leg, foot, or toes.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child's pain does not get better in 2 or 3 days.
  • Your child still has pain after 2 weeks.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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