Overview Of Joint Sprain
A sprain is an injury to the ligaments around a joint. Ligaments are strong, flexible fibers that hold bones together. When a ligament is stretched too far or tears, the joint will become painful and swell.
Causes Of Joint Sprain
Sprains are caused when a joint is forced to move into an unnatural position. For example, “twisting” one’s ankle causes a sprain to the ligaments around the ankle.
Symptoms of a sprain include:
- Joint pain or muscle pain
- Joint stiffness
- Discoloration of the skin, especially bruising
Treatment Of Joint Sprain
First aid steps include:
- Apply ice right away to reduce swelling. Wrap the ice in cloth. Do not place ice directly on the skin.
- Wrap a bandage around the affected area to limit movement. Wrap firmly, but not tightly. Use a splint if needed.
- Keep the swollen joint raised above your heart, even while sleeping.
- Rest the affected joint for several days.
- Avoid putting stress on the joint sprain because it can make the injury worse. A sling for the arm, or crutches or a brace for the leg can protect the injury.
- Aspirin, ibuprofen, or other pain relievers can help. DO NOT give aspirin to children.
Keep pressure off the injured area until the pain goes away. Most of the time, a mild sprain will heal in 7 to 10 days. It may take several weeks for the pain to go away after a bad sprain. Your health care provider may recommend crutches. Physical therapy can help you regain motion and strength of the injured area.
The following steps may lower your risk of a joint sprain:
- Wear protective footwear during activities that place stress on your ankle and other joints.
- Make sure that shoes fit your feet properly.
- Avoid high-heeled shoes.
- Always warm up and stretch before doing exercise and sports.
- Avoid sports and activities for which you have not trained.