SPRAINS VS STRAINS
You lace up your sneakers, grab your keys, and head to the greenway to start your run. Just twenty steps in, you accidentally step off the sidewalk and your ankle twists. You sprained it. Or maybe you strained it. Regardless, you are in pain and can’t run. This is a common occurrence that we see, and treat, everyday at ORTHOKnox. Treatment for such an injury begins with the diagnosis.
HOW ARE SPRAINS AND STRAINS DIFFERENT?
The difference between sprains and strains are the areas of injury: ligaments versus muscles and tendons.
Sprains are the result of trauma to ligaments, the fibers that form joints by connecting bones. An awkward, unanticipated movement can overstretch ligaments causing tears. This commonly occurs in the ankles, knees, elbows, and wrists.
Strains occur when muscles and tendons are overstretched, overused, twisted, or experience trauma. Strains commonly occur in the lower back, quadriceps, calf, and hamstring.
SPRAINS AND STRAINS – THE MOST COMMON CAUSE
Sprains and strains can occur at anytime, the result of an accident during one’s daily activities. More commonly though, sprains and strains occur in active settings, often the result of constant training without proper rest – increasing the likelihood of sprains and strains from the overuse of muscles and tendons.
Players in contact sports (e.g., football, hockey, lacrosse) may be at a heightened risk of a sprain or strain, but playing any sport increases risk due to the dynamic movements sports require. Jumping for that block in volleyball, dunking a basketball, or swinging a tennis racquet or golf club could all result in a sprain or strain.
HOW DO I AVOID SPRAINS AND STRAINS?
Build up your muscle strength and do daily stretching exercises. Also, make sure your shoes fit well. It is a good idea to test out your shoes before doing vigorous training in a new pair. Maintaining a healthy weight is also important to prevent unnecessary stress on your joints and muscles.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A SPRAIN OR STRAIN?
Sometimes sprains or strains are impossible to avoid. Signs of sprains and strains include pain, swelling, limited range of motion, instability, and bruising.
HOW SHOULD SPRAINS AND STRAINS BE TREATED?
Head over to ORTHOKnox to get your injury diagnosed to ensure that you get the best possible treatment and the greatest probability of returning to your sport quickly. At ORTHOKnox, your doctor will examine the injury site to determine its location and if there is instability, weakness, or a limited range of motion. Your doctor may order an X-ray or MRI to rule out a fracture or to examine the extent of the sprain or strain.
Once your doctor has diagnosed your injury, the treatments can range from surgery to the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method. Recovery time varies from as little as two weeks to up to one year, depending on the severity of the injury.
After the sprain or strain heals, you can receive physical therapy on site at ORTHOKnox to help restore strength and movement of your injury site.
For more information about how ORTHOKnox can treat your sprains and strains, call (865) 251-3030, or fill out our easy-to-use online appointment request form. We look forward to hearing from you.