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Strains and Sprains: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

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Sprains and Strains

Sprains result in damage to the ligaments that hold the bones together at a joint. Bands of strong, fibrous tissue called ligaments help stabilize joints and keep them from sliding past their usual range of motion. Sprains can result from an abrupt twisting or rolling of a joint, like when you foot on an uneven terrain or roll your ankle while participating in sports. Injuries to the muscles or tendons are known as strains. Tendons are tissue cords that connect muscles to bones. Overusing a muscle, such as when lifting a large object or doing the same action repeatedly, can result in strains. A quick, powerful muscle contraction, like when you try to lift something heavy, can also result in strains. The signs of sprains and strains, their causes, when you should seek medical attention, and their diagnosis and treatment are all covered in this article.

Causes of sprains and strains

Bundles of fibers are used to create the architecture of soft tissue. Specialized cells in muscles and tendons keep track of how much they contract and stretch. In everyday use, tendons and muscles contract gently to prevent overstretching. Unexpected twists or jolts, however, may exert more stress than the tissue can withstand, causing a tear or rupture of the fibers. The swelling is brought on by bleeding from ruptured blood vessels. Soft tissue injuries, such as those to ligaments and tendons, can develop suddenly or gradually deteriorate. An acute soft tissue injury is a sudden injury that is frequently connected to a particular trauma. This indicates that it happened during the last 72 hours. A wound that has existed for at least three months is frequently known as a persistent soft tissue injury. These are frequently brought on by improper loading, also known as “overuse,” in which the tissue’s capability is unable to keep up with the physical demands made on it.

Symptoms of sprains and strains

The symptoms of a sprain or strain may include:
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Reduced efficiency of function.

First aid for sprains or strains

Following are some suggestions for treating acute sprains or strains right away:
  • Quit what you’re doing.
  • Put the affected area to rest.
  • Use moist towels to keep the icepacks away from the skin, apply them for 20 minutes every two hours.
  • Firmly bandage or compress the wound area, extending the bandage from the bottom to the top.
  • Elevate (raise) the damaged part above heart level whenever possible.
  • In the first 72 hours after the injury, stay away from massage, heat, alcohol, running, and the affected area because these things can worsen edema.
  • Visit your doctor for a second medical examination if symptoms worsen during the first 24 hours.

When to see a doctor?

If a person has a strain or sprain, they ought to contact a doctor if they have any of the following symptoms:
  • Swelling and pain that worsens over time
  • Swelling and discomfort that does not go away with home remedies
  • Cold or fever
  • Having trouble standing or walking without pain
  • Restricted range of motion and flexibility near the afflicted joint or region
  • Tingling or numbness in the afflicted area
  • A deformity or signs of extremity/joint instability

How can I help prevent sprains and strains?

By strengthening the muscles around their joints and engaging in regular conditioning and stability exercises, people can assist in preventing sprains and strains.
  • Before exercising, warm up your muscles adequately to maximize their range of motion and prevent injuries to the connective tissue.
  • Supportive footwear might help to safeguard the knee and ankle joints.
  • Being on the lookout for slick or uneven terrain or potential accident-causing barriers can help prevent injury.
  • Repetitive motions or prolonged sitting or standing can cause the muscles to get overworked. People can stretch frequently to relax their muscles.
Not all sprains and strains can be avoided, but with the right aftercare, people can make sure they don’t result in complications or lasting damage.