Sprains And Strains
“Doctor, I think I have sprained my ankle. Can it be a tear?“ “Doctor, my son carries a heavy school bag. Is that a cause of back muscle strain ?” In our practice, we hear these words being used so often as a part of self-diagnosis made by patients. May it be a high schooler playing football who has had a twisted ankle on the field or someone who has had a minor slip in the bathroom. In our day to day active life, we frequently have a disturbed harmony of movement and we jump to the conclusion of a certain diagnosis. This may be right sometimes. But to get a proper perspective of what’s happening inside us, let us now understand what these terms mean and how different they are from each other.
How often have you gone for a walk in a local park and suddenly your foot lands on uneven ground? You suddenly feel a jolt of pain. The ankle swells up after a while and weight-bearing is uncomfortable and sometimes painful. There could be bruising or a popping sensation as well. This is nothing but a LIGAMENT SPRAIN. A sprain involves overstretching or tearing of ligaments, which are the fibrous connective tissues that connect bones to each other and stabilize the joints. Sprains occur when the joint is forced into an unnatural position. Commonly sprained joints are ankle, thumb, wrist and knee.
Many a time, you come home after a long flight or lift unusual amount of weight or have been doing an activity repeatedly with unease. You then develop stiffness, spasm, pain and limitation of movement. The symptoms gradually increase in severity. This is nothing but a MUSCLE OR TENDON STRAIN.
A strain is an overstretched, torn, or twisted tendon or muscle. A tendon is a tough cord of fibrous tissue that connects muscles to bones. Commonly strained areas include the legs, knees, feet and back.
TREATMENT OF SPRAINS AND STRAINS :
Yes, certainly sprains and strains can be treated at home, but only if they are of a mild degree.
Initial treatment includes – Rest, Ice, Elevation and Compression. Painkillers available over the counter may also help.
You may experience gradual improvement in a couple of days.
However, one must remember :
Sprains and Strains also include tears of ligaments and tendons which need treatment by an expert
There could be an accompanying fracture which may be missed unless examined by a specialist
There could be a more serious underlying disease process which has caused the condition in the first place
So it is extremely important to seek medical help, wherein proper physical examination is done and requisite investigations are advised. Only then can you come to an accurate diagnosis of your ailment and prevent further damage to your joint.
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