Chronic pain should be evaluated today.
A ligament is the tissue that connects a bone to a bone. A sprain is an injury to ligaments, while strains are the result of a muscle or tendon injury. These both are often caused by falls, twisting limbs or getting hit and are common in fingers, wrists, ankles, knees and foot arches.
How do you know if you have a serious sprain or a strain? The symptoms include:
- Pain, swelling or bruising.
- Inability to move a joint.
- Feeling a pop or a tear when the injury occurs.
A qualified orthopedic provider should evaluate any injury of this type to determine if it is a strain, sprain or whether it may also include a fracture.
A common treatment is often referred to as RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation):
- Rest the injured area for 24 to 48 hours.
- Ice the injury for 10 to 15 minutes, four times a day, for the first 48 hours after the injury.
- Gently wrap and compress the area with an elastic bandage. Wrap this loosely to avoid cutting circulation.
- Elevate the injury for first 24 hours; keeping the injured area above your heart. You can use a sling or a soft splint (such as a pillow) to keep the injured area from moving. If the pain does not improve or other signs of a fracture develop, seek medical attention.
Seek emergency care if:
- There is a popping sound or feeling in the joint upon injuring it
- You are unable to use the joint. Be sure to apply ice or a cold pack on the way to the doctor.
- The area is hot and inflamed and you have a fever (indicating a possible infection).
- The sprain is severe, chronic pain or long-term joint problems may result from a delay in treatment.
- Joint pain that doesn’t diminish after two or three days.