What is a strain or sprain?

A strain is when a muscle or ligament has been overstretched or overused. If the muscle, tendon or ligament is stretched even more severely it is known as a sprain. It’s easy to see how your child could get a strained or sprained muscle when they are running around playing in the garden, climbing over furniture or playing sport.

What can I do to help my child if they have a strain or sprain?

If your child had strained or sprained a muscle then you can use the PRICE principle to help ease their pain

Protect: the injured area from further injury by using a support

Rest: Ensure your child rests and doesn’t run around

Ice: Place some ice on the affected area to cool it down

Compression: Help reduce swelling by compressing the injury with a bandage

Elevation: Elevate the injured or sore area on some pillows to minimise swelling.


If your child is in pain you can offer them a children’s pain relief medicine. Nurofen for Children 3 months to 9 years contains ibuprofen which has anti-inflammatory properties to help soothe the pain of a strain or sprain and is suitable for children from 3 months and weighing over 5kg to 12 years.

If your child in a lot of pain or cannot move their muscle then it is advised to take them to see a doctor.