The warm weather is coming to town, and we are itching to get out and play! Injuries such as strains and sprains increase with the fun activities that make Spring and Summer enjoyable. Here is what you can do to treat strains and sprains.
First, what is the difference between a strain and sprain? Both involve:
- Pain or tenderness
- Redness or bruising
- Limited motion
The difference between a strain and a sprain is, a strain involves an injury to a muscle or to the end of tissue that attaches a muscle to a bone, while a sprain is an injury in the bands of tissue that connect two bones together. Additionally strains can also have muscle spasm, muscle cramping, and muscle weakness.
Next, the treatment for both is RICE:
Whether you plan on going to the urgent care or treating at home RICE should always happen immediately. The sooner the better. Get off the injured area, elevate it above your heart and apply ice. Finally, apply an elastic bandage (eg. ACE) to help limit swelling to the injury. Ice should be applied for 20 minutes, every 2-4 hours. Do not apply heat for the first 48-72 hours as it will cause further swelling. Swelling = Pain!! You may also take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as and anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or pain relief rubs such as Aspercreme or Biofreeze.
Strains and sprains typically require 2 weeks to feel better. You should avoid strenuous activity, such as running, for up to 8 weeks so as not to cause further damage. Severe damage however can take months to get back to normal. If your injury is not improving and you have followed the RICE recommendations, or, if you are not sure if you have broken anything, you should be seen. Call to schedule your appointment at Show Low Family Clinic 541-315-8338. You can also visit us on Facebook.