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Sprain Treatment in Illinois

How to Care For & Heal a Sprain

Sprains are a common type of injury that can occur in any body joint, but they are most commonly seen in the ankle, knee, and wrist. Although sprains can be painful and limit your ability to move, most cases are treatable.

Fox Valley Orthopedics has been helping community members find relief for their aches, pains, and sprains for over 45 years — and we’re ready to help you too!

What Causes a Sprain?

A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched or torn due to excessive force or trauma. This can happen as a result of:

  • Sudden twisting or turning of the joint.
  • Falling and landing awkwardly on the joint.
  • A blow to the joint

The severity of a sprain depends on the degree of stretching or tearing of the ligament. Mild sprains involve slight stretching of the ligament, while severe sprains involve complete tearing of the ligament.

Sprains vs. Strains

While sprains and strains are both injuries that can occur in the muscles, they are two distinct conditions. A sprain involves the stretching or tearing of a ligament, which connects bone to bone. On the other hand, a strain involves the stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon, which connects muscle to bone.

Symptoms of a sprain and a strain can be similar, but the treatment and recovery process can vary. It's important to receive a proper diagnosis from a medical professional to determine the best course of treatment for your injury.

Signs and Symptoms of a Sprain

The signs and symptoms of a sprain can vary depending on the severity of the injury. However, common symptoms include:

  • Pain and tenderness around the affected joint.
  • Swelling and bruising.
  • Difficulty moving the joint.
  • A popping or tearing sensation at the time of injury.
  • Stiffness in the joint.

Read more: Is My Ankle Sprained or Broken?

Are There Different Grades of Sprains?

Yes, there are different grades of sprains that are classified based on the degree of stretching or tearing of the ligament:

  • Grade I sprains involve slight stretching of the ligament without tearing.
  • Grade II sprains involve partial tearing of the ligament.
  • Grade III sprains involve complete tearing of the ligament.

Should I Go to the Doctor for a Sprain?

In most cases, mild to moderate sprains can be treated at home with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (the PRICE method, described below). However, you should see a doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Severe pain or swelling.
  • Numbness or tingling around the affected joint.
  • Inability to move the joint.
  • A popping or tearing sound at the time of injury.

How We Treat Sprains

The treatment for a sprain depends on its severity. In general, mild to moderate sprains can be treated at home with the following measures, also known as the RICE method.

RICE Method for Sprains: Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate Infographic

  • Rest: Avoid using the affected joint as much as possible for the first few days after the injury.
  • Ice: Apply ice to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. This helps reduce swelling and pain.
  • Compression: Use an elastic bandage to wrap the affected joint snugly but not too tightly.
  • Elevation: Elevate the affected joint above the level of the heart to reduce swelling.

In addition to the RICE method, your doctor may recommend the following treatments:

  • Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Physical therapy: Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist who can help you regain strength and flexibility in the affected joint.
  • Surgery: In severe cases where the ligament is completely torn, surgery may be necessary to repair the ligament.

It's important to follow your doctor's instructions and allow yourself time to heal properly. Attempting to resume normal activity too soon can delay healing and cause further damage to the affected joint.

If you are looking to actively prevent a sprain, there are several things you can do:

  • Warm up before exercise or physical activity.
  • Wear appropriate shoes for the activity you're doing.
  • Use proper techniques when lifting heavy objects.
  • Avoid activities that cause pain or discomfort in the joints.

How Long Does it Take a Sprain to Heal?

The time it takes for a sprain to heal depends on the severity of the injury. Mild sprains can take anywhere from a few days to a week to heal, while more severe sprains can take several weeks or even months. In general, most sprains heal within 4-6 weeks with proper treatment.

Contact Our Orthopedic Team Today

By taking the proper precautions and seeking medical attention from our team when necessary, you can help ensure a speedy recovery and prevent further injury.

Find a location near you and reach out to schedule an appointment today!