Ligament sprains and muscle strains are very common injuries, especially in people who participate in sports activities.
Sprains occur when the ligaments that hold the bones together inside a joint become stretched beyond their normal limits. They are common in the ankle, knee, thigh, hip, spine, elbow, and wrist joints.
Sprains may result in inflammation and tissue damage that can take some time to heal. The symptoms include pain, swelling, skin discoloration and joint stiffness.
To treat a sprain, our specialists will typically recommend applying ice packs to the affected area, elevating and resting the joint, and wearing an elastic bandage or compression stocking to minimize swelling and provide support. Anti-inflammatory medications may also be prescribed to help ease pain and inflammation.
A muscle strain is an injury to a muscle or its connecting tendons. Acute strains are caused by excessive stretching or tearing of a tendon. Chronic strains result from long-term repetitive movements of muscles and tendons.
The symptoms of a muscle strain include pain, swelling, muscle spasm, muscle weakness, inflammation and cramping.
Individuals are at greater risk for muscle strain if they are involved in football, basketball, hockey, gymnastics, boxing, wrestling, tennis, rowing, golf, racquet sports, and contact sports.
Sports that involve excessive jumping, such as volleyball and basketball, increase the risk of back muscle strains. Sports that involve sudden acceleration, such as track and field, soccer, and basketball, increase the risk of hamstring muscle strains.
Most sprains and strains will repair themselves with adequate rest, ice application, compression, and elevation. In the case of severe injury, such as a ruptured muscle or torn ligament, your physician may recommend surgical repair.