Sprains and Strains

Sprains in the ankle, knees, wrist and other body parts are common yet painful conditions that require medical attention. It can happen due to various reasons. Also, the degree of pain differs in different body parts and from person to person. A sprain is a sudden joint twist causing mild to severe injuries.

What are Sprains In Medical Terms?

Medical experts define sprains as some abrupt distortion or wrenching in joints that lead to tearing or rupturing in ligaments or blood vessels with internal bleeding in tissues. Though a sprain does not lead to joint dislocation, it can be significantly painful. Often, sprains are observed in the knees, ankles, fingers, wrists, and even in the back. One can treat mild sprain at home, but when the injury is severe and unbearable, it requires medical attention. Sometimes, a severe sprain might need surgery to repair torn ligaments (tissue bands connecting the bones across a joint. 

Even though a sprain is a common injury that many people come across, it can be risky in some specific situations, such as slipping or falling accidents, overexertion of joints, prolonged recurring motion, heavy exercise, athletic activities, and many others. 

Symptoms Showing Sprains:

Several symptoms show sprain in any joint of the body. Also, these indications vary with the severity of the injury. Some of the common symptoms of a sprain are given below. 

  • Mild or severe pain around the injured area-
  • Swelling around the affected joint
  • Restricted movement in the joint
  • Any “pop” sound during the injury

The above listed are some common symptoms of mild sprains, but sometimes they can lead to brutal injuries like fractures. One must consult a doctor if they see the following symptoms:

  • No movement and numbness in the affected area
  • No weight-bearing capacity
  • Severe pain exactly over the bones 
  • Injured joint turning blue or cold
  • Injury is not healing 

Diagnosis Of A Sprain Injury:

A sprain diagnosis includes the study of symptoms, pain severity, and patient medical history. 

  • It includes a physical examination of the injured or sprained joint for its tenderness, movement, and discomfort. 
  • An X-ray examination is to check for any bone fracture. 
  • An MRI for a detailed image of the injured area. 
  • Ultrasound scan to get real-time insights into a ruptured ligament in different positions. 

Treatment Or Medications For Sprains:

Usually, the treatment of sprains depends on the severity of the injury. 

  1. Self-Treatment for mild sprains: Any mild sprain is usually cured with the RICE technique, which signifies Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Rest refers to giving rest and not using the sprained areas till they heal. Ice shows using ice packs on the affected area to reduce inflammation. Compression signifies wrapping the sprained area with an ACE bandage to reduce swelling. Lastly, Elevation refers to keeping the injured above the heart level to reduce swelling. 
  2. General medical Treatment: It includes Analgesics to reduce pain, ligament reconstruction procedures, and therapies to restore the motion, stability, flexibility, and strength of the affected area. 
  3. Treatment for severe sprains: A severe sprain that causes much damage to the ligament sometimes requires surgery. The surgery repairs the torn or ruptured ligament that otherwise is not recovering. 

What Causes Sprains?

Generally, sprains occur when people accidentally overextend or tear a ligament and brutally stress a joint. In addition, the following circumstances can lead to a sprain in joints of different body parts:

  • Knees: Abrupt turning during some athletic or sports activities.
  • Ankle: Walking or running over a rough surface and landing uncomfortably on the ankle from a jump. 
  • Wrist: Lading on the hand or directly on the wrist during an accidental slip or fall and strenuous exercising. 
  • Fingers: Overextension when playing commotion sports. 

Cause of sprain in children: 

The reason for this is growth plates. These are soft tissues around the end of bones. They are less intense compared to ligaments. It is the reason children tend to have fractures, even in minor accidents. 

Factors that contribute to sprain injuries: 

  • Environmental factors like rough or uneven surfaces. 
  • A person’s physical condition is like tired muscles that do not adequately support joints. 
  • Poor-fitting footwear and other sporting equipment. 

Prevention Measures To Avoid Sprain Injuries:

  • Regular stretching, exercising, and conditioning muscles surrounding joints is the best way to mitigate the risk of sprains. 
  • Playing sports can also be a great prevention measure for sprains. 
  • Paying attention while walking or running on uneven surfaces. 
  • Avoiding sports activities, you are not trained in. 
  • Using suitable and adequate fitting footwear for sports or physical activities.


Sprains are common injuries that anyone can have but should not be neglected. One must consult a doctor if self-care treatment does not work. However, one needs to be careful while walking on uneven surfaces or playing any sport to prevent sprains.

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