Sprains & Strains: What is Recommended?
A sprain occurs when ligaments are stretched or torn, commonly in
the area of the ankle. A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is stretched
or torn, commonly in the lower back or hamstring. Ligaments are a connective
tissue, connecting one bone to another. Tendons connect muscles
to bones. Both sprains and strains cause pain, swelling, and limitations
of movement of the affected area. Bruising may occur in association with
sprains, while strains may be accompanied by muscle spasms.
Properly warming-up prior to exercise can help to prevent both sprains
and strains. Sprained ankles can be managed with RICE (rest, ice, compression,
elevation). Rest can be achieved through the use of crutches or
avoiding placing weight on the affected ankle. Ice may be applied every
couple of hours at fifteen minute intervals to decrease swelling in the
affected area. Wrapping the ankle with a bandage can also reduce swelling.
Also, the affected foot should be raised above the level of the heart.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) available over-thecounter,
such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or acetaminophen (Tylenol)
may be suggested by a physician to relieve pain. If the injury is severe, a
brace or splint may be used to stabilize the affected area. Surgery may be
needed to correct the injury.