What is a Sprain?

While exercising or doing sports, sprains can easily happen and could be mistaken for other muscle or joint injuries. Therefore, it is important to know what a sprain is, to avoid mistreatment of the injury.

1. What is a sprain?

A sprain is a situation where a ligament, which functions as a tough tissue connecting the bones at joints in the body, overstretches or tears. Sprains could happen at any joint in the body but mostly occur in the ankles. Most cases of sprains occur among people engaged in sports activities like running, jogging, playing football, basketball.

A sprain happens when a joint is twisted or moves out of its position, causing the ligaments to stretch and might result in the tearing or overstretching of the ligament. A sprain could be a mild tear or a completely torn ligament.

2. Symptoms of a sprained joint

When a sprain occurs, it causes a severe pain depending on the extent of the trauma to the ligament. A mild tear would not hurt as much as a completely torn ligament would. A sprain is also recognized by the swelling around the affected region. For light skinned persons, the region may appear slightly pinkish at the time when the sprain occurs.

You might also be unable to use the affected region. If  a sprain occurs on the right wrist, the victim might prefer using the left wrist more because of the pain and discomfort he feels on the right wrist. There might be a slight bruise on the affected area.

3. Treatment for sprain

The severity of the sprain and the affected part determines the type of treatment needed. For a mild sprain, ice can be quickly placed on the affected part and regularly massaged with a balm until the pain subsides and the ligament heals. But a totally torn ligament might require a surgery.

4. Ways to avoid sprains

Sprains sometimes occur not just due to the bending or twisting of joints, but the factors like lack of exercise, environment, and the state of health could also influence the risk of sprain occurring.

Exercising or carrying out sporting activities on the wet ground increases the risk of slipping or falling which could lead to sprains. So environment should be safe while carrying out activities that might cause sprain.

Exercise is the best way to improve muscle strength. Strong muscles tend to hold and protect the bones, therefore reducing the risk of sprain. Exercise is necessary at least 3 times a week to ensure body fitness and muscle strength.

Image courtesy of: therapist.org.il.

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