This article will review what you should do if you think you have a sprain or a strain. But first lets start off by differentiating between a sprain and a strain. Your body has many muscles, ligaments and tendons that hold joints together and allow you to move. A ligament holds two bones together such as ligaments in your knee or ankle. Tendons connect muscle to bone and allow for movement to occur.
A sprain is injury to a ligament due to stretching and or tearing. A strain is injury to of a muscle or a tendon (easy to remember since the word â€śstrainâ€ť has a â€śTâ€ť in it to remind you of tendon). Sprains and strains are very common injuries in all age groups that can occur from falling, twisting, lifting, getting hit or being involved in car accidents.
Signs of sprains and strains can include any of the following either alone or in combination: pain, swelling, bruising, muscle spasm, inflammation or cramping. Some sprains or strains can be severe enough to actually cause ripping of the ligament, muscle or tendon and thus urgent medical care should be sought.
Treatment for sprains and strains should start with basic rest, ice, compression (such as an ACE bandage) and elevation if there is swelling. However since the ligaments, tendons and muscles are damaged in such injuries, severe cases can also lead to fractures and others may even require surgery. Thus, urgent X-rays may be needed as initial tests in certain cases. The doctor may also wrap joints with an ACE bandage or even apply a splint to keep the joint stable for healing to occur. Usually anti-inflammatory medications are helpful in such conditions and some cases may benefit from muscle relaxants as well. A physician can also determine whether further tests such as MRI may be needed or a referral to a specialist.
If you live in New York City (NYC) or in the NYC area, and need urgent medical care for a sprain or strain or many other conditions - City MD Urgent Care is there for you. You do not need an appointment, and at City MD the goal is to treat you immediately on a no-waiting basis. We have X-ray on premise and can refer you locally for further testing or specialists in a prompt manner.