Sprains and Strains

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What is a sprain?

What is a sprain?

Sprains are stretched or torn ligaments. Ligaments connect bone to bone and bone to cartilage, and help hold joints together. Any joint can be sprained, but most sprains occur at the ankle, knee, finger, or wrist.
Common symptoms of a sprain:

Common symptoms of a sprain:

  • swelling
  • pain 
  • bruising
What is a strain?

What is a strain?

A strain is also known as a pulled muscle or muscle tear, and is caused by forcing a muscle past its normal range of motion. Strains most often occur in the middle of the muscle. 

Common symptoms of a strain:

Common symptoms of a strain:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • muscle spasm
  • limited movement
How to treat sprains and strains:

How to treat sprains and strains:

Treat with RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) for at least 72 hours or until swelling begins to decrease. 

Self-care is usually sufficient to treat a mild sprain or strain. However, more severe sprains or strains may require immediate medical attention. 
 
If you need to use crutches, click on the following link: Instructions for crutch walking
 
Reviewed by Trauma specialists at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Last updated: July 2013, January 2016

Trauma

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