At one time or another, most of us have experienced the excruciating pain as we twist our body, injuring a joint because of a fall or improper landing. Ankles are the most commonly sprained, but these tips can help you recover and heal more quickly.
What’s the difference between a strain and a sprain?
It helps to know the difference. A strain is a muscle injury, while a sprain is a ligament injury. Your ligaments are the rugged, non-stretchy tissue that connects joints as well as giving your joints support. If it’s only slightly stretched, but can still support the joint, you’ve luckily only experienced a mild sprain. If the whole support of the joint is disrupted, this is a more severe sprain.
How do you know you’ve experienced a strain or sprain?
Symptoms for strain and sprain include:
- pain in the injured area
- swelling in the injured area
- difficulty using or moving the injured area in a normal manner
- bruising or redness in the injured area
What do you do if you suffer a strain or sprain?
It’s key to prevent further injury. Heat, like warm compresses, can actually do more harm than good in the first few days after a strain or sprain. Resist massaging the area too vigorously as well, as this could increase bleeding around the injured ligament or muscle.
A visit to the Xpress Ortho Care is a quick and convenient way to be sure if you have a strain or a sprain. Even if you decide not to visit us, you should give your muscles or ligaments the best possible chance of recovery.
Steps To Recovery
It is important to protect your muscle or joint. At Xpress Ortho Care we can provide splints, braces or even slings for your shoulder, arms, ankles, knees or more.
Many medical practitioners will recommend RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) to help reduce swelling and pain associated with strains or sprains:
- Rest the injured area. This may mean using crutches or a cane if the ankle or knee is hurt. Don’t forget to move those injured areas from time to time. Do this very gently in all directions, but avoid any movement that causes a lot of pain. Avoid putting your full weight on the injury and vigorous exercise for several weeks. Our staff can show you the exercises best for recovery to fit your healing needs.
- Ice the injured area for 20 minutes up to eight times a day. Don’t let it touch your skin directly as it can damage the skin. Place the ice in a plastic bag, then wrap it in a towel. You can also use a bag of frozen peas! Icing reduces both swelling and pain, because it limits the blood flow to the damaged area.
- Compress the injury with bandages. Consult with your Physician or our Xpress Ortho Care Staff about the best compression method and how to apply it correctly to allow free movement and prevent stiffening.
- Elevate the injured area above the level of the heart as much as possible. The blood needs to flow away from the affected joint to help reduce pain and swelling and start the healing process.
Consult with your Physician or our Xpress Ortho Care staff about over-the-counter pain relievers including non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.