Sprain, also called a torn ligament, refers to a damage to one or more ligaments in a joint. Due to damage, a sprained extremity loses its full range of motion, and may interfere a person’s movement and his activities. Sprain is different from strain, since the latter involves pulling or tearing of muscles. The following are the causes, signs and symptoms, and home remedies for sprain.
Overextending or tearing a ligament while stressing a joint leads to a sprain, as per Mayo Clinic. According to the publication, the ankle, knee, wrist, and thumb are four common body parts that are sprained. The causes are walking or exercising on an uneven surface (ankle), pivoting during sports or athletic activity (knee), landing on an outstretched hand during a fall (wrist), and skiing injury or overextension while playing racket sports, such as tennis (thumb). meanwhile, tennis, golf, rowing, and gymnastics may also result to chronic strain due to prolonged and repetitive muscle movement.
Signs and Symptoms
Sprains usually present a number of symptoms. According to Medicine Net, the common signs and symptoms include swelling, bruising, pain, and loss of joint movement and function. As per the publication, the aforementioned symptoms may change in intensity, depending on its severity of the sprain. For instance, a mild sprain presents minimal pain and swelling, with little or no bruising and loss of functional ability. Also, the person is typically able to apply weight on the affected joint. According to Mayo Clinic, medical consult is necessary if the person cannot walk more than four steps without significant pain, cannot move the affected joint, and has a numbness in any part of the injured area.
Sprain treatment is usually dependent on the affected joint and the severity of the condition. Aside from medications and surgery, some remedies can be done at home to manage the condition.
Once remedy for sprain is rest. The person may not move the affected area to prevent further injury and to allow the damaged tissues to heal.
Another remedy for sprain is cold application. According to Top 10 Home Remedies, applying ice to the sprained area reduces inflammation, swelling, and pain. Also, the cold temperature promotes vasocontriction, which minimizes bleeding from a torn ligament. As per the publication, ice should be applied over the affected area for the first 48 to 72 hours following the injury. To apply the remedy, the person wraps a cup of ice cubes in a towel to form a cold compress. Then, the compress is applied to the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes. The process is done every two to three hours.
Sprain is also managed by compression. According to Web Med, the person may use an elastic compression wrap to reduce swelling. As per the publication, the wrap is worn for the first 24 to 36 hours. In addition,the person should also wear a protective brace if he tries to apply weight on the affected ankle. The application should not be too tight, since it may impede blood circulation in the area, which is manifested by increased pain, tingling, numbness, coolness, or swelling of the area below the bandage.
Following rest, ice application, and compression, the person elevates the affected area. As per the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society, this is done by reclining and propping the affected area above the waist or heart level.
Sprain reduces a person’s movement that it may negatively impact a person’s routine tasks. Thus, it is best to manage the condition and medical consult is necessary for adequate assessment of the condition, goal-setting, intervention, health education, and evaluation.