Do you have a sprain?
A sprain can be caused by a simple wrong movement. In case of major injury or if swelling and pain last for more than 24 hours, consult a physician.
Causes of Sprains
Joints are protected by ligaments that act like a door chain, preventing the joint from opening too far. During a forced or sudden movement, when muscles are unable to control the extent of a joint’s movement, the joint may be pushed to the limit and the ligaments may be stretched or even torn, causing a sprain.
Ankle sprains are common, but other joints such as elbows, wrists, knees and fingers, may also be sprained.
To avoid sprains, you should take time to warm-up before engaging in any form of physical activity. It is also important to have proper equipment such as good shoes and to avoid continuing to do an activity once you begin to experience fatigue.
- Rest the injured body part and use crutches if pain is severe.
- Apply ice for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, three times a day.
- Elevate the limb and use an elastic bandage (Proper use of the bandage is essential; improper use may result in complications).
The physiotherapist will assess the injured joint to determine the sprain severity and whether the ligaments are affected. Treatment will initially be aimed at reducing pain and swelling. Electrotherapy devices such as ultrasounds, interferential current, Neodynators and laser will be used together with other techniques (rest, ice, elevation) to decrease/control inflammation. The sprain may also be taped. For some sprains, it may be necessary to consult an occupational therapist to determine whether a splint is required.
Once the acute phase is over, you will be taught appropriate stretching or strengthening exercises. Electrotherapy devices as well as mobilization exercises will continue to be used to promote healing. Heat or the whirlpool will also be used in your treatment to activate the blood flow. Should you experience any difficulty resuming your regular household or work activities, occupational therapy may also be indicated. A strong flexible joint will help you avoid further damage.
Neglected sprains often result in persistent pain and ongoing disability.
Don’t forget the basic rules:
- First Aid