You know that you’ve hurt your ankle – you’re just not sure whether it’s a sprain or a strain. These separate types of injuries can actually cause a similar amount of pain.
Whether it is a strain or a sprain, one thing is for sure – you need to have it assessed by a trained medical professional. Only a doctor can accurately diagnose the severity of your injury, give you the proper treatment, and help you avoid further complications.
What Is a Sprain?
A sprain is defined as a stretching or a tearing of a ligament, which is the thick tissue that connects two bones to each other. Ligaments are strong, fibrous, and flexible, and they keep our joints stable. One example is the ligament that connects the upper leg bone to the lower leg bone, enabling you to stand, walk, and run.
If you overstretch a ligament or put too much stress on a joint – which can happen through a quick movement or a sudden jerking or twisting of the body – it can cause a sprain. A forcible blow to a part of the body may also lead to a sprain.
The ankle is the most commonly sprained part of the body. A mild sprain means the ligament is only stretched, and the joint remains stable. In a moderate sprain, the ligament is partially torn, leaving the joint unstable.
In severe cases of a sprain, the ligament is fully torn and has separated from the bone – with an accompanying loosening of the joint functions. If you have this injury, you will typically feel a popping sound as you move the joint. Additional signs are bruising, swelling, and inflammation.
A sprain can take a long time to heal, so be patient and do not put pressure on that joint. If you feel pain when you move in a certain way, find alternate ways to move so that the ligament can continue to heal and not be re-injured.
What Is a Strain?
Strains are defined as a twisting, pulling, or tearing of a muscle or a tendon. Tendons are strong tissues that connect a muscle to a bone.
A strain is either acute or chronic. Acute strains are a result of the sudden stretching or pulling of a tendon or muscle, whereas chronic strains are a result of overuse and repetitive motion.
Strains are usually accompanied by inflammation, pain, swelling, spams, cramps, and weakness. In a mild strain, the muscle or tendon is overstretched. In moderate cases of a strain, the muscle or tendon is overstretched with a slight tearing. In a severe sprain, the muscle or tendon is ruptured.
Orthopedic Urgent Care Clinic
If you or someone you know has injured an ankle, joint, muscle, or bone, see a doctor as soon as possible in order to receive proper treatment and to avoid further complications. Our orthopedic physicians at Patient Care Now Urgent Care in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania, provide medical care for a wide range of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions, including sprains and strains.
We also treat dislocations, sports injuries, minor broken bones, and work-related injuries. Our state-of-the-art facility has diagnostic tools and supplementary aids such as crutches, walking boots, and slings needed to address minor fractures or dislocations.
For your convenience, we are available 7 days a week, 365 days a year, including holidays. We take appointments and also accept walk-ins. If you have any questions, please contact us by calling (267) 202-6433. We look forward to seeing you.