IS IT A STRAIN OR A SPRAIN? GUIDELINES FOR IDENTIFICATION

By Novagrace Carganillo Articles Posted 4 months ago 103 views

IS IT A STRAIN OR A SPRAIN? GUIDELINES FOR IDENTIFICATION

Overview

You're not the only one who has struggled to distinguish between sprains and strains when trying to define them. Overstretching or tearing of soft tissues in and around your joints is frequently described by these two phrases, which are frequently used interchangeably. Knowing the crucial distinction between joint sprains and strains can enable you to distinguish between the two.

 

Symptoms

The overstretching or ripping of ligaments results in a joint sprain. Ligaments are the tissue bands that hold two bones in a joint together. The ankle joint is the most typical site for a sprain.

The overstretching or tearing of muscles or tendons results in a joint strain. Tendons are the strong tissue strands that attach bones to muscles. The hamstring muscle and the lower back are the most typical sites for a muscle strain.

Both a sprain and a strain have comparable signs and symptoms. That is because the injuries are very similar in nature. It makes sense that people regularly mix up these two illnesses.

 

COMMON SYMPTOMS OF SPRAINS

COMMON SYMPTOMS OF STRAINS

  • bruising
  • pain around the affected joint
  • swelling
  • limited flexibility
  • difficulty using the joint’s full range of motion

 

  • muscle spasm
  • pain around the affected joint
  • swelling
  • limited flexibility
  • difficulty using the joint’s full range of motion

The main distinction between the two injuries is that a strain may result in muscular spasms while a sprain may result in bruising around the damaged joint.

 

Causes

An occasional strain or sprain is common because our bodies work hard every day. You are more likely to sustain joint damage in certain circumstances. These comprise:

  • athletic activities or exercise, including running or jogging
  • accidents, such as falling or slipping
  • lifting heavy objects
  • overexerting yourself
  • sitting or standing in an awkward position
  • prolonged repetitive motion

 

Diagnosis

Doctors frequently rule out other possible reasons of your symptoms before diagnosing a sprain or strain. Your doctor might recommend an X-ray following a quick physical examination. Any breaks or fractures will be ruled out via an X-ray.

In the event that the X-ray is inconclusive, your doctor might recommend an MRI, another kind of imaging exam. Your doctor can get a very thorough look of the joint with an MRI. Very small or thin breaks that an X-ray can't see may be discovered by an MRI.

Your doctor will likely identify a sprain or strain if neither the MRI nor the X-ray show any breaks or damage to the bone.

 

Treatment

The same approach is used to treat minor sprains and strains. RICE is the name of this methodology. RICE is an acronym for:

  • Rest: Stay off the affected joint, or try not to use it while it heals. This will give the joint time to heal.
  • Ice: Ice helps reduce swelling and inflammation. Never apply ice directly to your skin. Instead, wrap a thin towel or piece of clothing around a bag of ice. Leave it on the affected area for 20 minutes, then remove the ice for 20 minutes. Repeat as much as you can for the first 24 to 48 hours.
  • Compression: Compression will help reduce the swelling. Wrap the affected joint in a bandage or trainer’s tape. Do not wrap too tightly, however, or you can reduce the blood supply.
  • Elevation: Try to keep the affected joint elevated above the level of your heart. This will help reduce swelling. If your knee or ankle is affected, that may mean you need to stay in bed or on the couch for up to two days after your injury. If you can’t keep it as high as your heart, parallel to the ground is also OK.

RICE may help you feel more comfortable and lessen symptoms over the first 24 to 48 hours following your accident.

 

Surgery may be necessary for more serious strains and sprains to restore torn or damaged ligaments, tendons, or muscles. Consult a physician about your sprain or strain if you feel any of the following:

  • difficulty walking or standing without pain
  • inability to move or flex the affected joint
  • feeling numbness or tingling around the joint

 

Outlook

Most people can resume light activities in two to three days after suffering from minor sprains or strains. If the injury is moderate, you might need a week. Take particular care to protect the joint, even once you feel like engaging in activities again. Until the tissue has had time to recover, you might wish to support the joint with a brace or tape it.

Sprains and strains that are severe may take much longer to recover. To help you restore strength and range of motion, you could also require physical therapy. This will be especially true if your injury calls for surgery of any kind.

Two weeks following your injury, you might need to see your doctor if you're still experiencing pain in the affected joint. A distinct issue could be indicated by lingering pain or difficulties moving the joint.

 

Prevention

No matter how fit or prepared you are, some injuries will still happen. Accidents do occur, after all. You may be able to lessen your risk of sprains and strains by remembering the following advice:

  • Stretch. Working out or playing sports on cold muscles isn’t good for your joints. Warm up, stretch, and give your joints time to prepare for physical activity.
  • Exercise regularly. Moderate activity every day is better than aggressive activity only once or twice a week. This keeps your muscles limber and flexible, so they’re able to recover and strengthen over time. If you can’t                      exercise 30 full minutes each day, break it up into three 10-minute periods of exercise. Even a quick walk during lunch is enough to help.
  • Be cautious. When it’s raining, icy, or snowing outside, walk carefully. Wear shoes with good tread and don’t rush your steps.
  • Take breaks. Sitting or standing for too long or doing repetitive motions can put strain on your muscles. Take regular breaks, stretch, and try to give your muscles a break when you can.
  • Invest in good equipment. If you’re serious about exercise or sports, you need to be serious about your equipment, too. Ill-fitting, poorly made, or worn out equipment won’t provide you with the support you need. To take care of your joints, you need to take care of your equipment.