Sprains and strains are common. You might sprain or strain your ankle while participating in your favorite athletic activity, or while simply walking to work as you do every morning.
A sprain is the stretching or tearing of a ligament. A ligament is a fibrous band of connective tissue that joins the ends of two bones together. Ligaments stabilize and support the body's joints. Ligaments in the knee, for instance, connect the upper leg with the lower leg, allowing you to walk and run. Ankle sprains are common, and typically occur when the ankle rolls suddenly inward or outward.
Symptoms of a sprain include pain, bruising, swelling, and inflammation. The individual often feels a tear or pop in the joint. In severe cases, this may make the joint nonfunctional.
In other cases, where the sprain partially tears the ligament, some swelling may occur.
Chronic strains are the result of prolonged, repetitive movements of muscles and tendons. Insufficient breaks during intensive training oftentimes lead to a strain. Symptoms of a strain include pain, muscle spasm, muscle weakness, swelling, inflammation, and cramping. In severe strains, the muscle and/or tendon are partially or completely ruptured, often incapacitating the individual.
Prevention and Treatment
There is no way to make yourself immune to sprains and strains, but proper stretching, appropriate footwear and warming up before engaging in physical activity will help alleviate these potential problems. Treatment regimens can vary depending on the severity of your injury, but one thing never changes visiting your podiatrist as soon as possible can help prevent risk of complication or long term injury. Appropriate soft tissue imaging (not an x-ray) is imperative to asses any damage to the ligaments and tendons surround the ankle. If you’ve suffered a sprain or strain, contact our office today.