Sprains and Strains


Sprains and strains are common injuries that both share similar signs and symptoms, but each are different and involve a different part of the body.

A sprain occurs when there is a stretching or tearing of a ligament. Ligaments are extremely tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect the bones in your joints and hold them together. Ankle and wrist sprains are most common types of sprains.

A strain is a stretching or tearing of muscle or tendon. Tendons are strong, fibrous cords of tissue that connect the muscles to bones. Lower back and hamstring muscle strains in the back of the thigh are quite common.

Treatment for both sprains and strains are similar and both include rest, ice, compression and elevation. Mild sprains and strains can be treated at home. In the case of severe sprains and strains, such as with athletic or sports injuries, surgery can sometimes be required to repair the torn ligaments, muscles or tendons.

Symptoms of Sprains and Strains

Signs and symptoms will vary, depending on the severity of the injury.

Sprains

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Limited ability to move the affected joint
  • At the time of injury, you may hear or feel a "pop" in your joint

Strains

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Limited ability to move the affected muscle
  • Muscle spasms

When to see a doctor

Mild sprains and strains can be treated at home. You should see a doctor if you:

  • Can't move the affected joint
  • Can't walk more than a few steps without significant pain
  • Have numbness in any part of the injured area

 

Medfast Urgent Care Centers offer fast, professional medical treatment for sprains and strains. Our average wait time to see patients is less than an hour, compared to Hospital Emergency Rooms, which can sometimes take longer than three to four hours and are much more expensive. We are professionally staffed with highly-skilled, licensed doctors and nurses, and fully equipped to handle testing and treatment for sprains and strains.