STRAINS AND SPRAINS

Strains and sprains are injuries affecting muscles and ligaments, usually because of accidents while moving, such as during sports.

 

A strain is the stretching or tearing of your muscles or tendons (the tissue connecting your muscle to your bone). Strains are common in the legs and back.

 

A sprain is the tearing or stretching of the ligaments (the tissues around the joints that connect bones to one another). Sprains are common in the knees, ankles and wrists.

 

Both may involve pain, swelling, bruising, soreness and restricted movement.

 

HOW TO TREAT AT HOME

  • Stop doing the activity that caused the strain or sprain immediately.
  • Use PRICE therapy:
  • Protect the injured area
  • Rest
  • Ice the area by placing an ice pack (wrap a bag of ice in a towel) on the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Compress the injured area with an elastic bandage until the swelling stops
  • Elevate the injured area by raising it above the level of your heart, especially at night

 

SEE YOUR GP IF:

  • there is severe pain or swelling
  • you are feeling numbness or coldness in the wounded area
  • the injured limb looks crooked or has unusual lumps
  • there is bruising
  • you cannot move the injured joint or muscle 
  • you cannot put any weight on the injured limb
  • symptoms have not improved after 3 days of treatment at home

 

GO TO THE A&E IF:

  • There is no need to visit the A&E for a strain or sprain, unless your GP says so.