What Is A Sprain?
A sprain is an injury where the ligament in your joint is stretched beyond its capacity.
Similarly, if a muscle is overstretched and torn, then it can be classified as a strain. If either a muscle or ligament is torn, then surgery may need to be performed.
Ligaments connect bones to bones and are made of tough fibrous tissues. Although sprains can occur anywhere, they most often happen in the ankle and the wrist.
Symptoms of A Sprain
- Blue and red bruising
- Swelling and pain
- Less mobility in the limb
- Popping sound at the time of accident if the ligament is ruptured
- Difficulty using the injured extremity
There are three degrees of sprains. A first degree is when only a few fibers tear in the ligament. A second degree is when part of the ligament tears. A third degree is when there is a complete tear of the ligament.
Diagnosis of A Sprain
To diagnose your injury, your doctor will most likely perform an x-ray to make sure that there are no fractures. If the doctor expects a tear in the ligament, then he will perform an MRI.
Causes of A Sprain
- A sprain occurs when a joint is overextended. This can occur during physical activity, over-stretching of the joints, slipping, or falling
- Sprains of the ankle are usually more painful than a break and can take longer to heal
- Sprains of the knee occur in the ACL. This often happens to athletes involved in baseball, basketball, martial arts
- Sprains can also occur in the fingers, wrists, and toes
- Fatigue of muscles is a common reason for sprains
- Not warming up before exercising can lead to sprains
Treating A Sprain
- Rest – Staying off your feet is important immediately after the injury, but prolonged immobilization can delay the healing of the sprain
- Ice – 10-15 minutes application at a time, 3-4 times a day
- Elevation – Keep the sprained joint elevated about the body to keep swelling down
- Compression – Compressing the sprained joint with bandages such as ace wraps can provide immobilization and support
It’s important to keep increasing the range of motion of the sprained area to prevent stiff joints and muscle atrophy. This is the most effective rehabilitation treatment, but should be done once the severe pain of the sprain subsides.
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