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Ligament Sprain/Muscle

Ligament Sprain/Muscle

Sprains and strains occur from overstretching ligaments, muscles, or tendons, and can even result in partial or complete tears.  A strain results from an overstretching of muscles or tendons and a sprain refers to a similar injury affecting ligaments.


What is a Ligament Sprain/Muscle Strain?

Sprains and strains occur from overstretching ligaments, muscles, or tendons, and can even result in partial or complete tears.  A strain results from an overstretching of muscles or tendons and a sprain refers to a similar injury affecting ligaments.

What causes a Ligament Sprain/Muscle Strain?

Ligament sprains are often the result of a fall or athletic movement in which a hand or foot is twisted or outstretched in an unnatural manner, causing the joint to move out of its normal position.  For example, if a foot turns inwards or outwards abruptly while falling, running, jumping or landing, an ankle sprain can occur.  If an individual stumbles and puts out their hand to stop the fall, the overstretching of the hand as it hits the ground can result in a wrist sprain.

Muscle strains are caused by pulling a muscle or tendon, which can happen by lifting something heavy, receiving a blow to the body, overstressing the muscles, or even just moving wrong for a moment.  Acute strains are caused by any of these events and occur suddenly.  Chronic strains can occur over time and result from overuse and repetitive movements involving specific muscles and tendons.

What are the symptoms of a Ligament Sprain/Muscle Strain?

Most ligament sprains result in varying levels of pain, swelling, tenderness, and bruising.  More severe sprains may result in joint immobility or instability, and may make it difficult to put much weight on the affected joint.

Muscle strains can result in varying levels of pain and muscle weakness, as well as swelling, inflammation, cramping and muscle spasms.  In some cases, there is some loss of muscle functioning.  Severe strains can be very disabling and will cause a great deal of pain.


How is a Ligament Sprain/Muscle Strain diagnosed?

In order to determine if a ligament sprain has occurred, a medical professional will visually inspect the site of the injury for swelling and bruising, will move it  and feel for tenderness and loss of mobility or stability, will check whether the joint can bear weight, and will ask the patient how the injury occurred.  If the injury appears severe, an x-ray may be taken to rule out a broken bone and/or an MRI may be warranted to determine the severity of the injury and whether the ligament is partially or fully torn, or just overstretched.

During the diagnosis of a muscle strain, a doctor will check the patient for swelling, inflammation, and tenderness, as well as testing mobility and strength of the muscle.  An MRI may be required to determine the severity of the strain and to see if there is any partial or total tear of muscle or tendons.

If you believe you have a ligament sprain or muscle strain, but are unsure of how serious the injury is, it is best to consult with a medical professional.  It is also best to see a doctor if you have severe pain and swelling, cannot move  the affected area or put weight on it, have any type of numbness, have a great deal of tenderness in the area where the injury occurs, or have injured an area that has been injured in the past.  The symptoms of a sprain or strain may be similar to those of a fracture, so if there is any chance that you may have fractured a bone, you should seek immediate medical care.

What will the treatment for a Ligament Sprain/Muscle Strain consist of?

The first aspect of treatment in ligament sprains and muscle strains is to try to alleviate the pain and swelling associated with the injury.  This is done by resting the affected area, applying ice, compression, and elevating the injury (also known as the RICE method).  If the initial treatment does not alleviate the pain and swelling, a more severe sprain or strain may have occurred.  Some sprains may require the use of a cast to immobilize the area while the affected ligaments heal properly.  In many cases rehabilitation and physical therapy are recommended and in severe cases where a ligament, muscle or tendon has torn, surgery may be the best option.  Physical therapy nyc will help to restore mobility, alleviate stiffness, gain strength and reduce pain.  The length of treatment will vary considerably depending on the severity of the injury and can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to many months or even a year.

Which muscle groups/ joints are commonly affected from a Ligament Sprain/Muscle Strain?

Ligament sprains can occur in any joint and muscle strains in any muscle or tendon but they are more likely to occur in certain locations.  Ligament sprains are most likely in the foot, ankle, knee or wrist.  Muscle strains are most likely to occur in the back, hamstrings, and elbows.

What type of results should I expect from the treatment of a Ligament Sprain/Muscle Strain?

With proper treatment, most people will fully recover from the pain and immobility caused by ligament sprains and muscle strains.  Minor sprains and strains will typically require a short period of rest, ice, elevation and possible anti-inflammatory medication in order for the injured area to heal.  More severe sprains and strains may require a cast, physical therapy, or even surgery.  Although the length of recovery from major sprains and strains can be rather lengthy, most patients can eventually resume normal activities without pain or loss of functioning following a course of rehabilitation and physical therapy.