HEALTH CENTER

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Fast Facts About Sprains and Strains by Christy Hayes

christy-no-bkgrndIf you are engaging in strenuous activity or fall and suddenly you feel a sharp pain that doesn’t go away in your wrist, ankle, knee, or finger, this pain could be a sprain. “A sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments — the tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones together in your joints (M.C. 2).”  In most cases, the impact could be minor and can be easily treated with ice, rest, and compression. However, if hit too hard, you could tear a ligament, tendon or muscle. Sprains most often occur on the wrist, ankle, knee or thumb.

To identify your sprain, you must check if you have the right symptoms which include: pain, swelling, bruising, inability to move the area, or hearing an unusual “pop” sound. It’s well advised to see a doctor if the area is incapable of movement. During the doctor’s visit, you will have a physical exam to determine how severe the injury is.

Treatments include: medications, therapy, or surgery. Keeping a brace on your sprain is highly advised. “Recovery time depends on how serious your sprain is. These injuries may take from two to ten weeks to heal. But that’s a rough estimate. Everyone heals at a different rate (Webmd 2).”

Strains are like sprains, but they usually occur in your foot, leg (i.e. hamstring), or back.  A strain is an injury to your muscle or tendon.  Although they can happen suddenly (like sprains), they can also develop over days or weeks.  Common symptoms of strains are: cramping, pain, inflammation, spasm, swelling, or muscle weakness. The treatment for strains are like sprains: R.I.C.E. rest, ice, compression and elevation.

How Can Sprains and Strains Be Prevented? 

Per the National Institutes of Health, the following ways can help prevent sprains and strains:

  • Avoid exercising or playing sports when tired or in pain.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet to keep muscles strong.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Try to avoid falling (for example, put sand or salt on icy spots on your front steps or sidewalks).
  • Wear shoes that fit well and have good outside soles.
  • Get new shoes if the heel wears down on one side.
  • Exercise every day.
  • Be in proper physical condition to play a sport.
  • Warm up and stretch before playing a sport.
  • Wear protective equipment when playing.
  • Run on flat surfaces.

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sprains-and-strains/basics/definition/con-20020958

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/wrist-sprain#2

http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00111

https://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/sprains_strains/sprains_and_strains_ff.asp

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.