Sprains and Strains

Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains are common injuries

They can happen due to excessive force on the muscles or ligaments, or from overuse of the said areas. These can happen in sport, at work or even during daily activities. They are sometimes used interchangeably to describe an injury. This should not be the case however, as both of them are different from each other.

A strain is a milder form of injury

It is caused by pushing or stretching a muscle or tendon too far, such as when moving a heavy object. It can also be caused by bad habits (such as bad posture) that can lead to overuse of the affected muscle. These can cause a tear on a muscle that can lead to pain, muscle weakness, inflammation, and limited motion of the affected area.

A sprain

Is generally a more serious injury characterised by an overstretched or torn ligament. Ligaments are connective tissues that connect bones together in a joint. When a ligament is torn, it affects that joint’s function and is often associated with severe pain, swelling, instability and could also lead to a loss of the joint’s function. Sprains usually occur when an excessive force applied to a joint or limb, such as an ankle or wrist.

Immediate and effective management of sprains and strains can be implemented through the PRICE regimen for the first 48 hours:

• Protection:

Protect the area from further injury. Devices such as splints, canes or crutches can be used to protect the injury and prevent load application onto the injured area.

• Rest:

Allow the area to rest and restrict activity. However, limited and gentle pain-free movement can be beneficial for the recovery of the injury.

• Ice:

Apply ice (or a frozen bag of peas) to the area for 10 to 15 minutes every hour or so within the first 48 hours. Cover the ice with a moist towel to prevent injury to the skin.

• Compression:

A compression wrap (or elastic bandage) is used to limit bleeding or swelling. Only use light compression so as not to restrict blood flow (which can impede with healing and recovery).

• Elevation:

Raise the injury above the heart for most of the time (even during sleep) to help prevent pooling of fluid in the injured area. This can also help in reducing swelling.

Different areas of injury require specific devices and have different management options. The number of devices available on the market can be confusing at first, but consult with one of our staff members and we should be able to guide you to choose which products are best suited for your particular injury. Our pharmacists can also assess your injury and provide additional advice such as pain management and whether or not to send you to your GP for a more thorough checkup of your injury. We also offer supplements that will help with your recovery.

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