What are Sprains and Strains?

A strain is a stretched or torn muscle or tendon, commonly occurring in the lower back and hamstring, located in the back of the thigh. Tendons are the tissue that connects your muscles to your bones. Like a sprain, strains can be mild or involve the complete tear of a muscle or tendon. Common signs of a strain include pain, swelling, muscle spasms and weakness, and cramping.

Causes of Sprains and Strains

Sprains are often caused by a twisting force that stresses the joint. This can occur when:

  • Walking on uneven ground
  • Reaching out when falling
  • Overextension during racket sports
  • Pivoting when catching or throwing

Strains can be acute, occurring after one incident, or chronic, occurring after repetitive movements. A strain often occurs in sports with quick starts such as hurdling, long jump, and running races. Some other situations that typically cause strains include slipping on ice, improperly lifting a heavy object, gymnastics, tennis, rowing, and golf.

Treatment of Sprains and Strains

For acute sprains and strains, you might treat your injury at home with the RICE approach. This include:

  • Rest: Give the affected area a break from activity. If your injury involves the leg, you might use crutches to assist with walking.
  • Ice: Using an ice pack on the area 20 minutes at a time can help with pain and swelling. This should be repeating every two to three hours for the first few days.
  • Compress: Applying an elastic compression bandage can help reduce swelling in the area. Be careful not to wrap the area too tightly to avoid cutting off circulation.
  • Elevation: Elevating the area above your heart can also help with swelling, especially at night.

If your injury worsens or does not improve, you should see a doctor or physician. you might be provided with a brace to assist with healing. More severe cases of sprains and strains could require surgery to repair the torn tissue. Physical therapy can also improve injuries by restoring mobility and reducing pain.

If you are experiencing signs of a sprain or strain, contact Springfield Urgent Care. A physician can meet with you to discuss your symptoms, examine the affected area, and provide you with the necessary treatment.

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