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Articles : A to Z Conditions (including Pertussis)
Causes and Types of Injuries: Back to Articles
by Lauren Feder, M.D.

Excerpt from Natural Baby and Childcar


Bumps, bruises, and skinned knees are rites of passage in childhood and any active child will experience their share of minor scrapes and contusions, less often serious injuries such as  broken bones and sprains.  Injuries can result from direct impact, such as with a fall, or from movements that twist or strain joints, tendons, and ligaments, leading to sprains and pulled muscles.  Repetitive stress injuries resulting from overuse are rare in children; isolated incidents like bumps, sprains, and muscle strains are more common. Following an injury, the area may be painful, swollen, bruised, red, weak, and warm. Your child may not want the area touched or may have problems moving in a normal fashion, limping or otherwise favoring the injury.


If you suspect a fracture or a severe injury call your practitioner. All severe injuries, including head injuries, require immediate medical attention. After a moderate to severe accident or injury, many patients visit the doctor for a full evaluation including X-ray. 


Causes and Types of Injuries

As your baby begins to roll over, crawl, fall, walk, and fall again, she will be prone to all types of bumps and bruises. Older children tend to injure themselves from climbing, running, playing, and sports.  A bruise, caused by a bump or direct blow, is also known as a contusion.  Some of your child’s everyday injuries will be accompanied with bruising of the area.  The marks are caused when the blood from the damaged underlying capillary leaks into the tissue, leaving the skin looking “black and blue.”

Joints are particularly vulnerable to injury due to their complexity and frequent use.  At the joint, the bones are connected to each other by ligaments, which are made of long collagen fibers that can stretch slightly.  Ligaments function to provide stability and protect the joint from doing certain movements that could lead to injury, while tendons connect bones to muscles, and are made of a fibrous connective tissue—the Achilles tendon, for instance, is the largest in the body.

A strain is caused by twisting, tearing, or overstretching a muscle or tendon and can result from lifting a heavy object or from trauma to an area.  Common areas of strain include lower back and hamstring. A sprain, on the other hand, results from a strong pulling or twisting action on the ligaments, forcing the joint out of its alignment.   The knee and wrists are common areas for sprains, while the most frequently injured joint is the ankle.  With both sprains and strains, your child can experience pain, swelling, and sometimes limited movement of the joint.  Older children are more prone to strains and sprains than younger children, whose growth plates are weaker comparable to their muscles and tendons and hence more flexible. This makes younger children more prone to broken bones, however.  

An often overlooked cause of trauma is the minor “fender bender,”. At a recent homeopathic medical conference, a physician presented research showing that injuries from motor vehicle accidents occur in collisions as slow as 7 to 8 miles per hour! In fact, these unseeingly simple traumas can progress to chronic problems, especially the older we get.


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