Sprains are ligament injuries (the bands of tissue that connect two bones) resulting from wrenching or twisting a joint. Strains are injuries to a muscle or tendon (the band of tissue that attaches a muscle to a bone) and are often caused by overuse or excessive force. Your ankle is the most commonly sprained or strained joint.

Causes of Sprains and Strains

Sprain occurs when you overextend or tear a ligament while stressing your joint. Sprains often occur in the following incidents:

  • Ankle Joint - Walking or exercising on an uneven surface, landing awkwardly after a jump.
  • Knee Joint - Pivoting during an sports activity.
  • Wrist - Landing on an outstretched hand during a fall.
  • Thumb - Overextension of a thumb may happen when playing racquet sports, such as tennis.

Sprains and Strains Symptoms

Signs and symptoms may vary, depending on how severe the injury is, and include:

  • Pain in the affected area.
  • Swelling of the joint.
  • Bruising in the affected area.
  • Mobility issue to move the affected joint.
  • Hearing or feeling a pop in your joint at the time of injury.

prevention of Sprains and Strains

Regular, consistent stretching and strengthening exercises, as part of an overall physical conditioning program, can help to minimize your risk of sprains. Try to be in shape to play your sport, rather then playing your sport to get in shape. If you have a physically demanding job, regular conditioning can help prevent injuries.

You can protect your weaker joints in the long term by working to strengthen and condition the muscles around the joint. Ask your sports medicine doctor about appropriate conditioning and stability exercises. Also, use footwear that offers support and protection.

how to treat Sprains and Strains

Prompt first-aid care can help reduce pain and swelling immediately after knee injury. You should follow the R.I.C.E. method of self-care at home:

  • Rest - Immediate rest is necessary for healing and limits weight bearing on your knee.
  • Ice - When you're awake, try to ice your knee at least every two hours for 20 minutes at a time.
  • Compression - Wrap an elastic bandage or compression wrap around the injured knee.
  • Elevation - Lie down with your injured knee propped up on a cushion or a pillow.

When to see Sports Medicine Doctor

Mild sprains can be treated at home. But the injuries that cause sprains can also cause serious injuries, such as fractures. You should see a sports doctor if you:

  • Have trouble moving or bearing weight on the affected joint.
  • Experiencing pain directly over the bones of an injured joint.
  • Experiencing numbness in any part of the injured area.

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