Strains and Sprains Specialist Questions and Answers
Don’t let sprains and strains get worse! Come see Dr Lonnie Davis and the team at Ortho OIC and get a diagnosis and treatment for that injury. Request an appointment online or call now for details. Serving patients from Fairfax VA, Washington DC, Bethesda MD, Arlington VA, Falls Church VA, Alexandria VA and surrounding areas.
Strains and sprains are common overuse or misuse injuries often affecting the feet, ankles, wrists and hands. While minor strains and sprains can heal on their own without any complications, more serious injuries can lead to greatly reduced range of motion. Strains and sprains are a very common sports injury, with millions occurring annually.
How do you treat sprains and strains?
Whether the injury is a sprain or a strain, the treatment approach will likely to be comparable. Typically by following a straightforward procedure called RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation), in the first 24 to 48 hours after the injury, the goal is to reduce swelling and pain.
Rest — Rest means just that. If at all possible, don’t use the injured joint; give it time to heal or the injury can worsen.
Ice — Applying ice will help to reduce swelling, but you have to be careful not to exacerbate the injury. Cover the ice or cold pack with a thin towel and apply it to the injured site for no more than 10 minutes at a time, with a minimum of 10-minute breaks between applications to prevent damaging the skin from cold exposure.
Compression — Compression can be applied to the joint with an elastic bandage to help control swelling, though you must take care that the bandage isn’t so tight that it restricts blood flow and blocks circulation.
Elevate — Elevate the injured joint to reduce swelling and drain fluid, which promotes pain relief and expedites the healing process. For the first few days after injury, elevation should be done as often as possible. If possible, the injured joint should be elevated 8 to 12 inches above the level of the heart to reduce swelling.
What is the difference between a strain and a sprain?
Sprains and strains are common orthopedic injuries.
While both are similar in nature, a strain is an injury to a tendon or muscle and a sprain is an injury to a ligament.
A sprain is typically caused by trauma to a joint, by overstretching or by overuse of muscles and tendons.
People at higher risk for sprains and strains include athletes, people that have had sprains and strains before, and people who are overweight.
Signs and symptoms of sprains and strains include decreased range of motion, swelling, pain and bruising.
The main treatment for all strains and sprains is RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Home remedies may include over-the-counter pain relievers. Physical therapy or massage may also be prescribed.
Most sprains and strains heal completely with adequate treatment, though you’ll be at higher risk of re-injuring an equivalent area again.
Prevent sprains and strains by conditioning your muscles and stretching, wearing the right shoes for sports, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Can urgent care treat sprains?
Yes, absolutely! Sprains and strains are one of the most common injuries treated at urgent care. At Ortho OIC, our urgent care specializes in treating injuries sustained from physical activities, so not only can we help you heal, we can provide you with specialized treatment for your unique situation.
How long do strains and sprains take to heal?
Depending on the level and severity of the injury, a sprain can take several weeks to heal, typically around four to six weeks, although this number can quickly rise in re-injury occurrences.
If you or someone you know has sustained a strain or sprain, come to Ortho OIC today! Our kind and compassionate staff are highly experienced in treating injuries to the muscles, ligaments and tendons and specialize in caring for all sports-related injuries. Contact our office today to talk with a member of our specialist team. Visit us online or simply give us a call to book an appointment today!