Sprain or Strain?

Let’s say that you have just come back down to the court after jumping for a rebound and you landed funny on your foot leaving you writhing in pain. Let’s say that you have just taken a turn through your daily running course and your foot twists causing you to collapse to the ground. Or lets say you twist, fall, or get hit in any sort of way and your foot, your wrist, or any part of your body that has ligaments suddenly feels like an unbelievable (or mild) pain. This pain could be because of a sprain or a strain.

However dramatic or mundane the reason this could necessitate a trip to your local Cleveland urgent care center because you do not know what is wrong for certain and the pain can be unbearable. The professionals at Ridge Park Urgent Care are here online to give you a little help as you try to determine just what is wrong with your ankle or wrist before you come into a center like ours.

To begin with lets differentiate between a sprain and a strain. According to the National Institutes of Health Department of Health and Human Services a sprain is an injury to a ligament or ligaments in which the ligament is stretched or torn. The ligament is the tissue that connects bones in the body. A strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon. A tendon is a fibrous tissue that connects muscles within the body.

Sprains most often occur at the ankle, but are also commonly associated with the wrist when people use their hands to break a fall. Unfortunately a sprain’s symptoms are far from conclusive. Swelling, bruising, general pain, and immobility (or a lack of mobility) at the joint are all signs of a sprain.

A strain can be a little more troublesome to diagnose since it can be either a quick twist or turn that results in an acute strain or a strain developed by the repetition of a physical task that causes a chronic strain. Strains most often occur in the back or the hamstring muscle (the muscle in the back of the thigh).

The various signs of a strain are all associated with the muscle. A muscle experience a spasm or cramp or simply feel weak. There may be swelling in the area of the strain or you may have difficulties moving that muscle.

Sometimes the muscle or tendon can be torn completely. This results a searing pain and is the reason you see soccer crowds holding there breathe and hear a hush come over the stadium when a player goes down and clutches their leg. In fact some of the most gruesome strains even cause an audible pop (just ask an old lineman if they have ever hear that pop an watch his face flinch).

So the next time you injury yourself running, jumping, or lifting something and you fear you have done some serious damage, locate the source of the pain. If it is at a joint it is most likely a sprain. If it is in the back or in the back of the leg then it could be a strain.

Of course, sometimes the pain can simply be too much, and might want to visit a medical professional. In fact the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons recommends quick medical action in the event of an ankle sprain because an ignored ankle sprain can result in chronic ankle instability an the ankle sprain could one of may injuries to the ankle, like a bone fracture within the foot.

A facility like Ridge Park Urgent Care can handle those typical sprains and strains. Facilities like ours have an MRI that allows an urgent care center to diagnose the severity of the sprain or strain. If you fear that you have broke a bone, a Cleveland urgent care center might be able to handle it, but it is advisable to visit a hospital.

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