Why You Shouldn’t Ignore a Sprain

By ProOrtho on
- Posted in: News

Most people expect to have some pain or discomfort when they play sports or exercise. However, there’s a big difference between having sore muscles after a workout and injuries like sprains.

Our team at ProOrtho has advanced training in diagnosing and treating minor to complex musculoskeletal conditions, including sprains. Here’s why you shouldn’t ignore this type of injury.

Sprain basics

A sprain is a common injury that’s often confused with a strain. When you have a sprain, you tear a ligament. These strong bands of tissue provide stability to a joint and hold your bones together — like at your knee, wrist, or ankle. Strains can have similar symptoms, but they develop in the affected muscle, not a joint.

Common signs of a sprain include:

  • Bruising
  • Tenderness, swelling, or inflammation
  • Pain at the affected joint
  • Problems using the joint or bearing weight on it

A sprain may not seem like a big deal, but when you experience pain, your body is trying to tell you there’s a problem. Even ignoring a mild sprain can lead to long-term damage in the joint, increasing your risk of re-injury. The sooner you stop using a sprained ligament, the faster your injury heals and you can get back to living an active life.

Caring for a sprain

Many sprains respond to the R.I.C.E. method during the first 48-72 hours:

  • Rest the joint and stop the activity that caused your injury — never keep playing
  • Ice every two hours for 15-20 minutes at a time
  • Compression, or bandaging the joint, reduces movement and swelling
  • Elevation of the injury helps keep swelling down

Sprains often start improving after approximately two weeks, but they can take months to fully recover, depending on the severity of your injury.

When you have a severe sprain or don’t get relief from at-home treatments, it’s time to see an expert. Contact our office so we can determine the extent of your injury and help you start healing. Request an appointment here.

Curious about other health, exercise, or pain management tips? Contact the top orthopedic doctors at ProOrtho today.

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