Nurofen for Children: Strains & Sprains

Kids will be kids: try Nurofen for Children for unexpected strains and sprains

Bumps and bruises, cuts and grazes – they’re all a natural part of the rough and tumble of childhood. Most of the time, your child will be just fine with a band-aid and lots of cuddles. A sprained wrist or a strained muscle, on the other hand, may need extra care.

What are strains and sprains?

Active children can strain or sprain a part of their body from everyday activities like running around the garden, jumping or climbing over furniture or playing sport. Strains or sprains can happen when your child pushes a muscle or ligament too far, or as the result of a trip or fall.

Although the pain may feel the same, strains and sprains are different conditions. That’s because they affect different structures in the body. Sprains and strains can cause damage to muscles, joints and ligaments and are usually accompanied by inflammation.

Strains are caused by damage to muscles or tendons (bands of tissue that join muscle to bone).

Sprains, on the other hand, are caused by damage to ligaments (strong bands of tissue that hold bones together). Ankles sprains are one of the most common injuries in children.

Could it be a strain or sprain? Do they complain of sharp, immediate pain in a body part they’ve just used (e.g. ankle or wrist)?

  • Are they unable to put weight on a body part that was injured?
  • Are they complaining of pain in a body part after strenuous activity (e.g. playing sport)?
  • Does the area of concern look swollen? It could be a strain or sprain. If you are unsure, or if you are at all concerned about your child’s symptoms, seek advice from your doctor.

How can you relieve a sprain or strain?

There’s a principle called ‘RICE’ you can follow immediately after your child suffers a strain or sprain:

  • Rest - Avoid moving or putting weight on the part of the body that has been strained or sprained to prevent further for up to two days.
  • Ice - Use some ice to cool the affected area. The cold will help bring down swelling in the early stages. Apply for about 10 minutes every few hours for up to 48 hours.
  • Compression - Give the injury extra support by compressing the affected area with a bandage. When the injury is wrapped firmly, the pressure can prevent or decrease swelling.
  • Elevation - Try to keep the injured area elevated by placing it on a pillow. This helps to reduce swelling.

Ibuprofen, the active ingredient in Nurofen for Children, is an anti-inflammatory (also called a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID) that may be used to help relieve pain and inflammation caused by strains and sprains. Nurofen for Children, liquid formulations can be used from 3 months and the soft chewable capsules can be used from 7 years of age.

Why consider an anti-inflammatory like Nurofen for Children?

When muscles or ligaments are strained or sprained, inflammation can occur, which can make nearby nerves more sensitive to pain and the tissues inflamed and swollen. Unlike paracetamol (which is thought to work mainly by reducing pain signals to the brain), ibuprofen works mainly by blocking pain signals at the site of pain.

When should you contact a doctor?

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a sprain and a broken bone, so take your child to see a doctor if you’re concerned. It’s also important to seek medical advice if your child’s pain is not manageable at home or if you are concerned for any reason at all.


The information on this site is intended for visitors from New Zealand only. This article is for general information only and not intended as a substitute for medical advice. All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health-related matters, always consult your healthcare professional.

This medicine may not be right for you. Read the warnings before purchase. Follow the directions for use. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Do not give to babies under 3 months of age.

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