What Is a Sprain

A sprain is a type of injury in which ligaments are twisted, torn, or stretched far enough to cause pain and swelling, but not violently enough to cause a complete break in the bones of the joint.

Symptoms of a Sprained Ligamentperson with sprained left ankle

Ligaments are the strong, flexible tissues that connect two or more bones to a joint and help maintain the stability of the joint while it is in motion. When these ligaments become twisted, it results in a painful sprain.

Symptoms of a sprain typically include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Inability to apply weight to the joint
  • Limited joint function

Sprains can be mild, moderate, or severe, based on the level of pain and the degree of trauma that is exerted on the ligament.

Ankle sprains are the most common type of sprain. In fact, ankle sprains are the most common injury suffered by all high school athletes in the U.S. Other common sprains include wrist, knee, elbow, and finger sprains.

Treating a Sprain

A sprain involves no critical damage to the ligament, so treatment usually consists of mitigating the painful symptoms associated with such an injury. The most common treatment method is referred to as RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).

Rest is the most important step in allowing a sprain to heal. Avoid using the sprained ligament for several days. Whenever possible, keep the sprained area elevated to reduce the swelling resulting from blood flow. A mildly sprained ankle can require the use of an ankle brace, while a moderate or severe sprain may warrant the use of crutches.

Ice the sprained joint in 20-minute increments up to eight times per day. Boots, splints, and wraps can be used to compress the injury. For alleviation from the pain, aspirin or ibuprofen may be taken.

After the pain and swelling of the sprain subside, it’s important to exercise the ligament to restore strength and flexibility. Take it slow and ease your way into using the ligament, as the joint will be susceptible to another sprain until the ligament regains its strength.

FastMed Urgent Care Treats Sprains and Other Injuries

Back to school means back to sports and playgrounds for many children. This means it’s also a time for an increased risk of injuries. If you or your child suffer a sprain, find care that is compassionate, fast, and affordable by visiting FastMed Urgent Care.

We accept most major insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. Check out our Insurance page to confirm that your plan is accepted. Find a FastMed Urgent Care near you and let our friendly healthcare professionals help treat your sprain!

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WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/understanding-sprains-strains

Moms Team: http://www.momsteam.com/health-safety/muscles-joints-bones/ankle-foot/ankle-sprains

The content presented on this page is not intended to diagnose health problems or take the place of professional medical care.