Treatments for Sprains and Strains in Chandler, AZ
For most minor sprains or strains, even those that knock you off your routine for a couple weeks, at-home remedies are still often the best course of action. There’s a frequently used acronym that’s pretty spot on for people suffering from sprains and strains: RICE – rest, ice, compress, elevate. Most medical professionals will recommend:
- Resting the affected limb
- Icing the injury for about 20 minutes four to eight times a day
- Compression therapy of some kind, either a specialized bandage, cast, boot or splint
- Elevating the sprain with a pillow or something else while you sleep or are resting
- Take over the counter pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen
A relatively minor strain or sprain should start feeling better within a few days, but a severe sprain may take a couple months to fully heal. It’s important to let strains and sprains fully heal before resuming normal activities. Weekend warriors and athletes who try to return to full activity levels without completely healing risk exacerbating their
What’s the Difference Between a Strain and a Sprain?
Despite many people using the terms interchangeably, there actually is a difference between a strain and a sprain. Both refer to excessive stretching or even tearing, but a sprain happens to a ligament and a strain happens to a tendon.
Sprained ankles are the most common type of sprain. Strains most commonly affect athletes in contact sports and people who frequently lift heavy objects at work.
Sprains are also sometimes graded – a Grade I sprain is a minor tear that doesn’t cause much if any instability for the affected joint. If the tear is slightly worse and there’s low to moderate instability, it’s considered Grade II. Grade III sprains occur when the ligament has completely ruptured, or torn, which can result in the joint losing all stability and being unable to bear weight.
Sprain or Strain Surgery and Other Treatments
If you’re concerned your injury may be more serious than a sprain or strain, or it’s been several weeks or more and your still not feeling any reduction in pain or improved dexterity and weight bearing capacity, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with a sports medicine physician or orthopedist.
Grade III sprains or strains, where the tendon or ligament has torn or ruptured completely, may require orthopedic surgery to repair the ligament or tendon. This may be done using transplanted ligament from elsewhere in the patient’s own body or from a donor.
After surgery, physical therapy will be necessary to restore strength to the affected muscles and improve joint stability. Even severe sprains and strains that don’t require orthopedic surgical intervention may benefit from physical therapy.
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