Strains and Sprains

Strains and Sprains

Soft tissues of the body, mainly muscles, tendons, and ligaments are the ones that are most vulnerable to injuries. Most often, injuries to any of the soft tissues occur due to an external trauma, such as a fall, a sports injury, a twist, etc. and can be extremely painful. Even with the proper treatment, some injuries may take a long time to heal depending on the part of the body injured.

Strain

A strain is caused as a result of an injury to a muscle or a tendon. Tendons are soft tissues that connect a muscle to a bone. When a tendon or muscle gets stretched, or worse, torn, it leads to a strain

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Strain

Strain can be categorized into two types, namely acute and chronic. Acute strain occurs due to a sudden injury, such as a muscle pull or a tear while performing physical activities such as running, jumping, lifting heavy objects, etc. Chronic strain occurs due to a repetitive and prolonged stress being applied to the tissue, which could lead to abnormal stretching or even a tear. Chronic strain is mostly seen in athletes and sportspersons.

The symptoms of a strain are as follows:

  • Pain and swelling at the area of the injury
  • Immobility
  • Muscle spasms

The injured area must be secured in such a way that it doesn’t move. It is best to keep an ice pack around it to bring down the swelling during the first few hours of the injury. Doctors recommend wearing an elastic bandage as it helps to stabilize the injured area. Further chiropractic care may be required to restore its proper functionality and movement.

Sprain

A sprain is a resultant of a stretch or a tear in a ligament. A ligament is a soft tissue that connects one bone to another and is comprised of several bands of tissues. Generally, the ankles, wrists, and knees are the most vulnerable to sprains.

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Sprain

Sprains can be briefly categorized into mild, moderate and severe types. Mild sprain occurs when the ligament gets slightly stretched and the fibers suffer minor damage. Moderate sprain occurs due to a partial tear to the ligament and the person may feel a looseness in the joint. In the case of a severe sprain, chances run high that the ligament has completely torn, resulting in excruciating pain. This would make the joint non-functional and would require a surgery.

A sprain, much like a strain, occurs mostly due to an external trauma. Also, excessive physical activities, such as lifting weights, running (sudden starts and stops), jumping, etc. are some of the prominent causes of a sprain. The symptoms include severe pain in the affected area, immobility of the joint, swelling and bruising.

A procedure that patients can follow is the ‘RICE’ rule, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. Right after the injury, it is best to rest the injured joint, after which an ice pack can be used to reduce the swelling. Compression refers to the use of an elastic compression bandage, used to stabilize the joint. Keeping the joint at an elevated position helps reduce the swelling.

The treatment process may include the use of an MRI or ultrasound scan, which help to determine soft tissue damage. Physical therapy may be recommended by the doctor to alleviate the pain and strengthen the injured area.


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