A twisted ankle or slip and fall can quickly cause pain and difficulty walking. To prevent a worsening of a sprain or strain, the team of orthopedic specialists at Orthopedic Immediate Care in Arlington, Virginia, offers on-site diagnostic X-rays and treatment services without an appointment or long wait time. You can visit the office as a walk-in or schedule an appointment online or by calling the office today.
Sprains and strains are both injuries to the soft tissues of the body that cause pain but involve different parts of your body.
A strain affects the muscles and tendons — fibrous tissue connecting your muscles to bones — and occurs when the tissue becomes overstretched or torn. Strains usually occur due to falls, heavy lifting, or sports activity, and most often affect the following areas:
In a sprain, tears or overstretching affects the ligaments, the tough band of tissue that connects bones to cartilage and other bones. The most common areas affected by sprains include the ankles, wrists, and knees. Sprains are usually caused by sudden movements, falls, and direct trauma.
The symptoms of a sprain generally appear immediately after a fall or other injury and include pain, swelling, and bruising in the injured area. You may also find it difficult to put weight on your leg if the sprain occurs in the ankle or knee.
In a strain, symptoms can develop suddenly or appear gradually over time. These symptoms may include:
Sprains and strains can also limit your mobility, making it difficult to walk or stand for any amount of time.
Generally, your Orthopedic Immediate Care specialist can determine if you have a strain or sprain based on your symptoms and a physical exam.
To rule out other underlying issues that may cause your symptoms, your provider may order imaging tests, like X-rays, to get a better look at the inner structures of the injured area.
Mild to moderate strains require several days of rest and ice therapy to reduce pain and swelling. In some cases, you may need to wrap the affected area with a bandage to prevent inflammation and keep the area immobile.
If the strain or sprain is in your legs or ankle, keeping your leg elevated above your heart can reduce swelling.
To address pain, your Orthopedic Immediate Care provider may recommend over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications.
Find out more about treating and preventing sprains and strains by calling the office or booking an appointment online today. For a fast evaluation, you can also visit the office as a walk-in.