How to treat mild sprains

How to treat a mild spains...

We all at some point in our life experience a mild sprain in one of our joints, whether the ankle, knee or wrist. and this can happen when you least expect it.

It can be rather painful in the immediate aftermath as well as being very annoying and frustrating through affected reduced mobility. What is important post injury is to focus on your treatment in ensuring you get back to full fitness as a quick as possible.

What causes a sprain?

Regardless of where a sprained joint occurs, the root cause is always the same in over stretching the ligaments. Within each joint there are ligaments which are tough bands of tissue connecting the various bones. Their main responsibility is the overall stabilisation of the joint which allows you to walk, run and turn freely.

Where serious damage to a ligament occurs the stability of the joint is severely reduced, in which case surgery is often required to rectify the issue combined with extensive physiotherapy to rebuild strength in the joint.

We know that ligaments are present within all our joints, but a sprain can happen in many ways depending on the affected area of the body. A sprained ankle can result from slipping on a wet floor or landing awkwardly from a jump. The sprain itself occurs from unnatural movement of the joint where it has over extended and damaged the ligaments.

What are the recovery times and treatment options?

Typically, a sprained ankle, knee or wrist are all self-limiting and will get better in time. As a rough guide a mild sprain should be healed within a few days, once the inflammation has subsided and allow you to become more active. It is advisable to take I easy to ensure that no further damage is caused, perhaps reverting to swimming rather than any weight bearing exercise.

In the immediate aftermath of a sprain it is advisable to stop what you are doing and rest. Following a sprained ankle for instance there is a weakness and instability in the joint, therefore carrying on can lead to further injury. Continued unnatural movements of a joint increase the chances of further damage to the ligaments, which can take a sprained ankle to something more serious requiring a longer recovery time.

Common symptoms following any sprain are pain and inflammation, which is the key reason why the mobility of the joint is affected. Ice can be used to help manage the inflammation, which in turn can help to reduce any pain experienced. Elevating the affected body part above chest level can also help to reduce the swelling, as gravity helps to move the flow of blood away from the inflamed area.

Whilst the condition is largely self-limiting sports braces are a common feature amongst professionals and amateurs alike. They are designed to offer a joint or muscle additional support following an injury, either through compression or stabilisation with varying types of braces available.

Sport Braces

Sports braces are available for all areas of the body, from ankle supports to knee supports to shoulder supports. The main reason behind wearing a sports brace is to give the patient the protection and support they require to continue exercising.

An ankle support is available in numerous designs depending on the condition a patient wishes to manage. In managing a mild sprain a patient may opt for a standard ankle support, offering compression to help manage pain and inflammation. Should they require the ability to vary the amount of compression applied then strap based supports can be purchased for a more bespoke level of comfort.

In more serious injuries a patient may opt to worn an ankle support designed to act as an external ankle ligament. In this way the ankle joint is supported without the movement and flexibility of the joint being compromised. There are also rigid stirrup brace options available which prevent the ankle from rolling and offer a greater level of stabilisation for the patient.

A wrist support can be used to manage a multitude of wrist injuries, from a sprained wrist to tendonitis to when recovering from a broken wrist. Some wrist supports are designed to limit movement of the joint which can help to avoid further injury, whilst others offer compression and additional support for conditions such as tendonitis.

What are the chances of repeat injuries?

It is a very difficult question to answer. On one side, a weakness in a joint or muscle can be exposed once again in the future however rebuilding strength in the joint or muscle can help to prevent future injury.

Whilst there is no straight forward answer, what is important is ensuring that you do the right things to manage the injury to avoid it from getting worse and giving you the best possible of a speedy recovery.

If you are unsure as to the severity of an injury then you should seek clinical advice, where they will be able to advise of any additional treatment required during recovery. The same applies should you encounter repeated injuries, as you may need physiotherapy to help with strengthening exercises.

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