Sprains and strains are common soft-tissue injuries that occur during sports activities and everyday life. But, whether you strain your back lifting something heavy or roll an ankle on the basketball court, Range Urgent Care can provide the treatment you need to recover. While sprains and strains have similar symptoms, the two injuries affect different parts of the body.
A sprain is the stretching or tearing of ligaments.
Ligaments are the fibrous connective tissues that join two bones together and provide stability and support in our joints. Sprains happen when a sudden twist or fall puts too much stress on the joint, causing the ligaments within to overextend or tear. The most common location for a sprain is the ankle joint, but wrist, thumb, knee, and elbow sprains are also common. A quick pivot during an athletic activity, bracing for a fall with an outstretched hand, or even simply walking on an uneven surface can lead to a sprain.
Signs and Symptoms of a Sprain:
- localized pain around the joint
- limited flexibility
- difficulty using the joint’s full range of motion
A strain is the stretching or tearing of muscles and tendons.
Tendons are the fibrous cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones. Strains happen when a muscle or tendon stretches suddenly or too much. Running, jumping, throwing, slips, and lifting heavy objects can all lead to muscle strains. You might strain your lower back while moving furniture, or suffer a pulled hamstring muscle during a soccer game. Repetitive movement during a job or sports such as gymnastics, tennis, rowing, and golf, can lead to chronic strains.
Signs and Symptoms of a Strain
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle weakness
- Trouble moving the muscle
Evaluation and Treatment
Severe sprains and strains may require surgery, or indicate a broken bone. A Range provider can rule out these more serious injuries and determine the best course of treatment your injury.
Our providers will check the affected area for swelling, bruising, and stiffness, and look to pinpoint areas of tenderness. The location and severity of your pain will help indicate the extent of the injury.
Most sprains and strains can be treated with the R.I.C.E. method (rest, ice, compression and elevation) and over-the-counter pain relievers, though more severe injuries may require a brace or splint, or even surgery.