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Sprains and Strains

Sprains and Strains

Strain and sprain treatment have a similar protocol, however the two injuries are different. Often the terms are used interchangeably as the exact distinction between the two is often unknown.

A sprain occurs when the ligament is injured by a tear or stretch of the tissue. Ligaments are fibrous, tough tissues connecting bones to bones.

Sprains are associated with actions like sliding into base, twisting a knee when the foot is stable or landing on the side of the foot. The ligaments supporting the joints either tear or overstretch.

Sprain Examples

  • Ankle sprains
  • Wrist sprains

Symptoms of a Sprain

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Loss of mobility
  • Possible pop or tear

A strain occurs when the muscle or tendon overstretch or tear. Tendon tissues connect the muscles to bones.

Strains occur with pulling or twisting a tendon or muscle. The strains are either chronic or acute. Chronic strains are often due to overuse with repetitive movement. Acute strains are from over-stressing muscles such as improper heavy lifting or with a trauma. Football and hockey or other contact sports increase the risk of strains. Golf and tennis with other extensive gripping sports are often connected to forearm and hand strains.

Strain Examples

  • Hamstring strain
  • Back strain
  • Elbow strain
  • Tendinitis

Symptoms of a Strain

  • Pain at rest
  • Localized cramping
  • Muscle spasm
  • Muscle weakness
  • Swelling and redness
  • Inflammation
  • Loss of muscle function

 

How to Treat a Sprain or Strain

Sprain and strain treatment should begin immediately following the injury. Getting professional help after a sprain or strain is advised.

Rest

Reduce activity and regular exercise. Depending on the severity, any weight bearing activity may need to be avoided.

Ice

Ice the area in increments of 10 minutes and avoid applying the ice directly to the skin. Use ice bag, cold pack or small frozen vegetables (peas or corn).

Compression

Compression can reduce the swelling with knee, ankle or wrist injuries. Wraps and bandages or boots and splints may provide support. Seek professional help

Elevation

Elevation can also help decrease the swelling. Raise the injured area with a pillow above the heart.

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