What Is A Sprain / Strain?
Sprains and strains are a common issue we treat at Life Health Medical Center. Some patients have minor strains or sprains, but others have severe sprains and strains. When a patient suffers from a sprain, it means there is an injury related to the ligament such as a tear or overstretching. Sprains are common within the knee, elbow, wrist, and ankles. A strain is a tear or in the muscle tissue. Strains happen most in the muscles that support the shoulder, groin, thigh, and calf. When you are dealing with a strain, you will feel muscle stiffness, tenderness, and soreness. Sprains cause swelling, bruising, and pain at the time of the injury. Both of these injuries can range in severity and take anywhere from a few hours to a few months to heal properly. Visiting our Salt Lake Medical Center will help you understand the extent of your injury and find the best treatments.
How do Strains and Sprains Occur?
Sprains normally occur when a twisting force is applied to a joint when it has weight upon it. Sprains happen when there is sudden, unexpected movement applied to the muscle. For example, when someone rolls their ankle when they are walking or running it would be referred to as a sprain. Muscle strains can occur during activities that are particularly athletic. Muscle strains are frequent when patients do not stretch before or after activity. Warming up is one of the most important things you can do to reduce the risk of strains. An example of a strain would be a dancer who did not properly stretch before attempting the splits resulting in a strain to their hamstring.
It can difficult knowing if you should visit a doctor for your injury or not. Some things to look out for would be:
- Your pain is originating from a joint or muscle and is moderate to severe
- You cannot stand or walk without pain
- You cannot move the affected joint
- There is numbness or tingling in the painful muscle or joint
These are all classic indications of a strain or a sprain but could potentially be a different injury. Visiting our doctors at Life Health Medical can give you clear answer and a treatment plan catered to your lifestyle and needs.
Diagnosis of a Strain or Sprain
When a patient comes in to a see one of our doctors at Life Medical Center for a strain or sprain, the doctor will start with a physical exam of the effected muscle or joint. Further testing and scans such as an X-ray or MRI may be needed to access the overall damage and to rule out a fracture. If your symptoms match that of a broken bone or fracture but none were found on any of the imaging, the doctor will most likely diagnose a strain or sprain.
Strain and Sprain Treatment
Many people recommend the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Evaluation) method when they have a strain or sprain. While the RICE method works well for some patients, it is not always the best treatment for others. Coming into our Salt Lake Medical Center is the ideal way to make sure you are getting the best treatment for strains and sprains. Ice is beneficial for swelling and inflammation, and does a great deal to reduce pain. Joint manipulation helps to reduce inflammation and aids in improving the healing process. Compression can also be beneficial with keeping the swelling down and keeping the joint or muscle stable to it can heal faster. When the injury is very severe medication is needed to manage the pain such as ibuprofen and aspirin.