What are Sprain and Strains?
The highly mobile nature of sports make it easier for a person to encounter injuries. Sprains and strains are some of the most common types of injuries in any sport. It involves tearing of the tissue. Sprains affect ligaments, while strains involve muscles or tendons (tissues that connect muscle to bone).
A strain and sprain pretty much have the same symptoms which is why most people confuse the two. Pain, bruising, inflammation, and swelling are the usual symptoms. However, you will know if it is a sprain if you are unable to move your joint and if you feel a pop or tear when the injury happens. A strain, on the other hand, involves symptoms like muscle spasms, muscle weakness, cramping and trouble moving the muscle. Severe strains can even result in debilitation due to the partial or complete tearing of your muscle or tendon.
You may also want to read a quick rundown on the treatment, recovery, and prevention of traumatic sports and overuse injuries.
Athletes in contact sports like soccer, rugby, or basketball, have the most chances of sprains and strains. Even non-contact sports like tennis or golf could highly likely sprain or strain the forearm and the hand if it is subjected to the same motions over and over. Even outside the rigors of sports, you are still at risk when you workout at the gym or even when you do any kind heavy lifting.
The R.I.C.E. method typically helps with symptoms like pain and inflammation, and it is important that it is administered during the first 24-72 hours after you sustained the injury. It stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If symptoms persist, it is important to see your doctor immediately. Some cases may heal with physical therapy, while some may already require surgery.
In severe and/or chronic sprains and strains that are unresponsive to first-line treatment or rehabilitation, surgical intervention can be the next course of action. Depending on the case of the patient
The risks involved with arthroscopic injury include infection, blood clots, and those involved with the use of anaesthesia. Injury to the nerves and blood vessels are also likely to occur, but only with poor technique, due to the close proximity of the structures involved.
Risks and potential complications can be avoided through proper patient selection and preparation. The surgeon’s skills and expertise are also important especially for this specialized approach.
Once the doctor has decided that surgery is the necessary course of action, you need to prepare yourself mentally and physically. Understanding the process and your role in it is an important step to help you recover quickly and effectively.
Discuss any medications or supplements you are taking with your doctor or primary care physician to know which ones you should stop taking before surgery. This is necessary as some medications increase you risk for complications.
Have any tooth, gum, bladder, or bowel problems treated before surgery to reduce the risk of infection. You must ensure that you optimize your health by eating a well-balanced diet, supplemented by a daily multivitamin with iron. In line with health promotion, you must stop smoking or minimize your alcohol intake 2-4 weeks before surgery. This can also reduce complications such as bleeding or delayed wound healing.
Preparing your home and home assistance prior to surgery is also important. Place items that you often use within easy reach before surgery so you won’t have to reach or bend down to get them. Remove all loose carpets and tape down electrical cords to avoid falls. You must also arrange for someone to help out with everyday tasks, as you may be advised to rest the affected area for several months.
For some patients, the R.I.C.E method can help the pain and swelling get better over time. Even if you see the area getting better, you should not rush it or you could injure the area again and make it worse. On the other hand, resting it for too long is also detrimental because scar tissue could already affect your movement.
Patients who require surgery for their ankle sprains and strains will need additional recovery time and physical therapy. This can last for several weeks or months. Pain medication will be prescribed to address acute, severe pain which is expected at this time. With ankle sprains, for instance, you may begin therapy by walking slowly on a flat treadmill, then move to an incline before progressing to a jog. There will be some degree of discomfort but this is expected. If there is a sudden flare-up of pain, this could mean that you should step back and move more cautiously or slowly.
The length of your recovery will depend on the severity of your injury. A slight sprain may take days to heal, while mild to moderate sprains and strains can take 3-8 weeks. Those who needed surgery may take much longer to achieve full recovery. However, patients with severe or chronic sprains, face the possibility that they may not return to their usual level of activity.
Swelling is expected for the first 24 hours due to the collection of sterile fluid used during the operation to allow better visualization inside the joint. A cold compress, such as an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a clean cloth can help minimize the pain, swelling, and bruising.
The soiled, bulky dressing applied on the closed incisions will be replaced with a waterproof dressing which has to be left in place until the post-op check-up. Observe the dressing if you notice that it is already soaked or is giving off a foul odor. You have to report this right away because it could be a developing infection. You may shower but make an effort not to directly soak the dressing.
You will be fitted with an arm sling and you will be given instructions on how to manage it. You should wear it during the day where you can take it off for brief periods, and remove it when you go to sleep.
Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is not right. Don’t just brush it off and risk the chance of comprosing your movement and interupting your daily activities. Get it checked today for the right intervention the soonest possible time. Book your appointment with Dr. Dutton, here.