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A sprain is a stretched or torn ligament. Ligaments are tissues that connect bones at a joint. Falling, twisting, or getting hit can all cause a sprain. Ankle and wrist sprains are common. Symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, and being unable to move your joint. You might feel a pop or tear when the injury happens.

A strain is a stretched or torn muscle or tendon. Tendons are tissues that connect muscle to bone. Twisting or pulling these tissues can cause a strain. Strains can happen suddenly or develop over time. Back and hamstring muscle strains are common. Many people get strains playing sports. Symptoms include pain, muscle spasms, swelling, and trouble moving the muscle.

At first, treatment of both sprains and strains usually involves resting the injured area, icing it, wearing a bandage or device that compresses the area, and medicines. Later treatment might include exercise and physical therapy.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Symptoms of Sprains and Strains

The following features are indicative of Sprains and Strains:
  • pain
  • swelling
  • bruising
  • not being able to move or use the joint
  • muscle spasms
  • muscle weakness
  • swelling
  • cramping
It is possible that Sprains and Strains shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Sprains and Strains

The following are the most common causes of Sprains and Strains:
  • fall and land on an arm
  • fall on the side of their foot
  • twist a knee
  • a recent injury
  • lifting heavy objects the wrong way
  • overstressing the muscles

Risk Factors for Sprains and Strains

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Sprains and Strains:
  • weak muscles
  • excess fatigue
  • improper warm-up
  • slippery or uneven surfaces
  • ill-fitting or poorly maintained footwear
  • poorly maintained sporting equipments

Prevention of Sprains and Strains

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Sprains and Strains. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • avoid exercising when tired or in pain
  • eating a well-balanced diet
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • avoid falling
  • wearing shoes that fit well
  • warming up and stretching before playing a sport
  • wearing protective equipment when playing
  • run on flat surfaces

Occurrence of Sprains and Strains

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Sprains and Strains cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Common between 1 - 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Sprains and Strains can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Sprains and Strains can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Sprains and Strains

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Sprains and Strains:
  • Physical exam: To check for swelling and points of tenderness in the affected limb
  • X-rays: To find out the fracture or other bone injury

Doctor for Diagnosis of Sprains and Strains

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Sprains and Strains:
  • Orthopedic surgeon

Complications of Sprains and Strains if untreated

Yes, Sprains and Strains causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Sprains and Strains is left untreated:
  • chronic pain
  • higher risk of additional stress fractures

Procedures for Treatment of Sprains and Strains

The following procedures are used to treat Sprains and Strains:
  • Surgery: To torn the ligament or ruptured muscle

Self-care for Sprains and Strains

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Sprains and Strains:
  • Rest the injured area: Fastens the recovery
  • Take proper medication: To avoid pain

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Sprains and Strains

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Sprains and Strains:
  • Ice therapy: Minimizes the swelling and helps in the movement

Time for Treatment of Sprains and Strains

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Sprains and Strains to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Sprains and Strains.

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