A sprain is also referred to in medicine as a distortion. It is one of the most common and common injuries in sports, hiking and at work. In the case of a sprain, the capsules and ligaments of the joint are overstretched and injured. This often happens as a result of careless and unconscious over-exertion of the affected joints. Typical signs are severe pain, especially when exerted, bruising ( bruises ) and swelling of the affected areas.
What is a sprain?
A sprain, referred to by the doctor as a distortion (Latin for twisting, twisting), is a joint injury caused by an overstretching of the joint capsule and the stabilizing ligaments. The joint capsule is a tight, connective tissue cover that encloses the joint and, like a pouch, prevents the joint surfaces from separating. For all you need to know about melanoma (black skin cancer), please visit phonecations.com.
Areas subjected to particularly high loads are also stabilized by bands. In extreme cases, ligaments or joint capsules can even tear. A sprain is usually accompanied by bleeding in and around the joint. Other possible concomitant injuries are: detachment or displacement of the articular cartilage, accompanying soft tissue injuries, nerve damage. A fresh sprain is manifested by pain, swelling, tenderness, bruising (this can appear up to 12 hours later).
The most common is a sprained foot. The classic injury scenario here: a buckling of the foot over the outer edge with simultaneous turning of the body outwards. The bent foot cannot follow the rotation of the body, so that the joint capsule and the stabilizing ligaments are pulled, which prevent the joint surfaces of the foot and lower leg bones from separating.
Sprains are particularly common in sports such as tennis, basketball or football. Knees and hands are also frequently affected, but in principle a corresponding injury to almost all joints is conceivable. Risk factors for a sprain are: The practice of risky sports, especially at a high level of performance or without a sufficient warm-up phase, lack of coordination, a generally poor training condition with insufficiently developed muscles.
But also previous injuries of the ligament apparatus at the corresponding joint. Even slight sprains, if they occur more frequently, can lead to pronounced instability of the joint – this is referred to as a slack joint. The worn-out capsule-ligament apparatus also impairs the joint mechanics, which exposes the articular cartilage to increased loads and can accelerate the wear and tear process ( arthrosis ). Therefore, even with seemingly insignificant injuries, it is better to see a specialist once too often in order to minimize consequential damage.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
A sprain is quite painful and uncomfortable, usually accompanied by fairly typical and distinct symptoms. Affected people feel severe pain immediately after the sprain, which persists even when they are at rest. Normal movement is therefore not possible with a sprain.
In some particularly bad cases, there is swelling that is visible to the naked eye. Constant cooling can eliminate these symptoms of a sprain. If you see a doctor immediately when you experience these symptoms, you can expect a quick and complete recovery. However, if you do without medical and drug treatment, you have to expect a significant aggravation of the individual symptoms.
The pain increases significantly and inflammation of the nerve tracts is possible under certain circumstances. In particularly bad cases, permanent consequential damage is even possible if a visit to the doctor is put off. A sprain usually has clear symptoms, so that a self-diagnosis can often be made.
In order to bring about an improvement or elimination of the symptoms, appropriate treatment must be carried out. Otherwise, the symptoms will intensify and there is a risk of permanent consequential damage.
The injury or sprain is followed by an initial phase in which tissue swells, bruises form, and so on. This phase is completed after 48 hours at the latest. A medical examination should be carried out as early as possible. After just 6 hours, for example, a “frozen image”, i.e. an X-ray image in which the joint is fixed in the same position in which the injury occurred, no longer makes sense.
The added stress on the joint could lead to further injury. in the following 4-6 weeks the destroyed tissue forms again, so that the injury is usually considered to have healed after 6 weeks.
A simple sprain usually causes no complications. However, the distortion often occurs in combination injuries – this slows down the healing process. For example, if a ligament is completely torn, it can take up to 12 weeks for the sprain to fully heal.
If capsular ligaments are torn in addition to the sprain, they may grow together to form scars, leading to poor posture and other complications. The sprain itself can also cause poor posture. As a result, joint wear and tear may occur or chronic pain may occur. If the sprain is not properly treated, it can lead to chronic instability of the joints.
Sprains in the foot in particular repeatedly cause long-term consequences, since the leg is exposed to extreme loads every day and it is therefore often not possible to completely heal the injury. However, surgery also carries risks.
Nerve injuries, infections and wound healing disorders can occur. The administration of painkillers and anti-inflammatories entails additional risks, because side effects and interactions cannot be ruled out. In the worst case, severe allergic reactions occur after taking a drug.
When should you go to the doctor?
If limb complaints appear after a minor accident or injury, the health impairments should be monitored further. If there is relief after a few minutes or if you are free of symptoms within half an hour, you do not need a doctor.
In these cases, the self-healing powers of the organism have contributed to an improvement of the situation and recovery in a sufficient form. If symptoms increase or irregularities persist, a doctor should be consulted. Swelling, changes in the complexion or mobility impairments must be examined and treated. A blue discoloration of the affected region is worrying.
A loss of physical strength, a decrease in performance and sensory disorders of the skin are further signs of an existing disease. A doctor must be consulted so that various tests can be ordered and carried out to clarify the cause. A diagnosis is often only possible after imaging methods have been used and provide clarity about the condition of the skeletal system.
If sporting activities can no longer be carried out as usual or if there are problems in coping with everyday life, the person concerned needs help. Restrictions in the gripping function of the hands, problems with joint activity and problems with locomotion indicate irregularities in the skeleton. They must be examined by a doctor.
Treatment & Therapy
The first and most important measure after a sprain should be the application of the LUCK rule. This means a total of 4 first aid measures:
- Immobilization to protect the joint and avoid further injuries.
- Ice for cooling. Whereby actual direct contact application of ice should be avoided. Mild cooling above freezing is advisable to reduce swelling and reduce pain. Cool packs should be stored in the refrigerator rather than in the freezer.
- Compression (or Compression), also to limit swelling. This can already be done at the scene of the accident by simply pressing, later a pressure bandage should be applied.
- Elevation. Another anti-swelling measure. Elevated body parts should be above the patient’s heart if possible.
In the case of minor sprains, there is usually no need to see a doctor. The affected body part should be rested and elevated as often as possible. Compression bandages on the injured joint help the body speed up the healing process. Cooling compresses or warm pads with essential oils or green tea also have a supporting effect in order to relieve the sometimes severe pain.
In the pharmacy there are over-the-counter pain-relieving creams, also on a homeopathic basis, which also promote healing. It can take several months for the joint to regain full strength after a sprain. With moderate physical activity, supporting bandages should therefore be worn at the beginning in order to protect the joint as much as possible.
If a severe sprain causes severe pain or even bleeding, a doctor should be consulted. Using imaging methods such as X-rays or ultrasound, this can detect a possible fracture or ligament injury, which usually has to be treated surgically.
The measures that the patient can take themselves naturally depend on the severity of the sprain. Rest is definitely advisable, walking aids or special sports shoes can be used to support this. Appropriate physiotherapy can also help the patient to mobilize the affected body part as quickly as possible.
You can do that yourself
A sprain should be evaluated by a doctor to rule out serious fractures or nerve damage. Mild sprains can be self-medicated by resting the affected body part. Regular elevation and the use of compression bandages support the healing process of the bone.
Cooling compresses help with pain. Later, warm pads with essential oils or home remedies such as green tea can also be used to relieve the pain. Alternatively, you can use pain-relieving creams from the pharmacy or the homeopathic cabinet.
After a sprain, it takes a few months before the joint can fully bear weight again. Gentle training is recommended beforehand, with supportive bandages being worn. If you have severe sprains, you should see a doctor. This also applies if bleeding, intense pain or other injuries occur.
If the ligaments are injured, surgery is often necessary. The measures that those affected can take themselves in this case depend on the location and severity of the sprain. General measures such as rest and supportive physiotherapy are indicated. Special running shoes or bracers support the affected limb and thus also contribute to a speedy recovery.