A sprain is an injury to one or more ligaments. Ligaments hold together a joint where bones or cartilage are connected. When these ligaments are stressed or torn, fully or partially, a sprain occurs. Twisting, falling, and impact can all lead to a sprain. These injuries are most commonly seen in sports and traumatic accidents, such as car crashes. The most common areas for a sprain to occur are ankles, knees, wrists, and thumbs. However, a sprain can occur anywhere in the body that ligaments are located.
Symptoms for a sprain are similar to other soft tissue injuries. They include bruising, swelling, discoloration, trouble moving the affected area, and pain. Age, health, and severity of the trauma can all affect the degree of injury to the ligament. Sprains can be mild, moderate, or severe.
For the proper treatment of a sprain, see the providers at Urgent Specialists. The most common treatment for a sprain is the RICE method. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation will help to reduce the swelling and pain. Once the pain and swelling subside it is important to exercise the affected area. Rehabilitating and strengthening the ligaments in the affected joint will increase mobility and help prevent future re-injury.
To prevent sprains a healthy exercise routine is important. Through strength training, muscles can reduce strain on the surrounding ligaments. Keeping flexible through stretching and having proper exercise equipment, like running shoes, are also important. If a sprain is left untreated or it is rushed back to activity before the ligament is fully healed re-injury is common. One of the biggest risk factors for sprains is a former injury to the ligament. Re-injuries are painful and can take longer to heal than the original injury.