Sprains and strains are common injuries, which we have all probably suffered at some stage in our lives. However, sprains and strains have different causes, affecting different parts of our body.
A sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments — the tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones together in your joints. The most common location for a sprain is in your ankle. Wrist and thumb sprains are also common.
Sprains usually happen when a person falls, twists, or is hit in a way that forces the body out of its normal position.
A strain is a stretching or tearing of muscle or tendon. A tendon is a fibrous cord of tissue that connects muscles to bones. Strains can most often occur in the lower back and in the hamstring muscle in the back of your thigh.
Strains can be acute or chronic. An acute strain is caused by trauma or an injury such as a blow to the body; it can also be caused by improperly lifting heavy objects or over-stressing the muscles. Chronic strains are usually the result of overuse--prolonged, repetitive movement of the muscles and tendons.
Find out here about symptoms and treatment -
Symptoms and treatment
The symptoms of most sprains or strains are very similar: pain and inflammation and sometimes bruising, at the injured area.
Most people with mild sprains and strains can treat these injuries at home by following the “RICE” method: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. (See one of our earlier blogs)
A Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, can also help decrease pain and inflammation.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if the pain and swelling gets worse or you have not improved after a couple of days. An x ray may be needed to help the doctor determine if a fracture or break is causing the pain and swelling.
Signs to look for –
Getting back to full fitness
The amount of rehabilitation and the time needed for full recovery after a sprain or strain depends on the severity of the injury and individual rates of healing.
You probably can’t wait to get active again, but you shouldn’t rush it. You could re-injure the area and make it worse.
It’s best to rehab your injury gradually. A physiotherapist can recommend certain exercises that can help you get back to your normal routine at a safe pace. These exercises are important, to help reduce swelling, prevent stiffness, and restore normal pain-free range of motion.
Your physiotherapist can also teach you how to prevent injuries reoccurring. Treatment will include an exercise programme, possibly with the use of some gym equipment to increase your strength and co-ordination and restore any movement lost in the joint.
If you need support or guidance for a sprain or strain, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We are here to help you get back to full fitness in the shortest possible time.
NorthWest Physio +
4B Shamrock Drive
09 412 2945