Sprain and Strains Treatment Questions and Answers
AFC Urgent Care offers quick and efficient assessment and treatment for various types of sprains and strains. We are located at 5208 Calhoun Memorial Hwy Suite C Easley, SC 29640. Call us for more information. We serve patients from Easley SC, Berea SC, Gantt SC, Greenville SC, Wade Hampton SC, Clemson SC, Mauldin SC and Taylors SC.
What is the difference between a sprain, strain and fracture?
Sprains, strains and fractures are all painful types of injuries. Sprains occur at joints and involve the overstretching or tearing of ligaments, which are fibrous connective tissues that hold together two bones. The ankle, wrist, knee, thumb and back are the most frequent locations where sprains can happen. Strains, on the other hand, are a result of muscles and tendons being stretched out and torn. They most commonly affect the hamstring muscle in the upper leg or muscles in the lower back. Tendons are also made of fibrous connective tissues, but they join bones to muscles. Fractures are not related to injuries in tissues, but instead are breaks within the bone. The leading causes of fractures are auto accidents, falls, or sports-related trauma. Conditions which result in weakening of the bones such as osteoporosis, can be a predisposing factor for injury-related fractures.
Where should I go if I have a fracture, sprain or strain?
After an accident or an incident where trauma is sustained, you need to determine whether medical attention is needed. If there are minimal signs and symptoms of swelling or inflammation and movement of the traumatized area is only associated with minor pain, without signs of discoloration, healing may take place at home. However, if you have difficulty walking, standing, and moving the wounded area, or experience sensations of numbness or tingling. In addition, if there is any doubt about the type or severity of the injury or if symptoms persist or worsen without professional medical attention, it is always best to see a doctor. After physicians perform a physical exam, x-rays may be recommended to determine the type of injury.
How are sprains and fractures treated?
If a less severe sprain or strain is suspected or has been diagnosed, the treatment usually includes following these procedures:
- Rest and avoid using the joint or area of injury.
- Apply ice on top of the swollen or inflamed soft tissues, ensuring the ice is wrapped or contained within cloth or a towel. Leave the ice on the affected area for 20 minutes and then take it off for another 20 minutes. Repeat this procedure often in the first 2 days after the traumatic occurrence.
- Compress the injury with a bandage or tape to reduce the swelling and inflammation.
- Elevate the injured joint above the level of the heart, if possible. This may require you to lie down if the injury is located in the lower part of the body.
If a fracture has been identified:
- Splints may be applied to keep the bone stationary
- Braces may be used to provide bone support
- Plaster casts can be placed externally to stabilize the bone during healing
- Traction is an option utilized for cases where tissues surrounding the fracture have to be aligned
More severe strains, sprains and fractures may need surgical repairs to heal the traumatized ligaments, tendons and muscles. For fractures, steel pins and rods may have to be inserted to stabilize the bone and facilitate healing. In some cases, physiotherapy may be advised to help increase strength and mobility to the injured area
How long do strains, sprains and fractures take to heal?
The type and severity of the sprain, strain and fracture determines the healing time. Younger patients tend to heal faster. Less severe strains or sprains may only need 2-3 days up to a week to heal and allow for regular activity to resume. More serious Strains and sprains may take longer to heal to a point where normal activity is possible. For fractures,
New bone can be laid down as fast as several weeks. Function and use can resume for an injured area in a few months, depending on where the fracture is located, which bone is involved and the overall health of the patient.