When to Visit the Clinic – Ankle Sprain and other Strains of Muscles and Joints
When people think of ankle sprain and other strains of muscles and joints, they mostly associate them with athletes who engage in vigorous sporting activities. But the truth of the matter is that you do not need to be an athlete or a sportsperson to twist and hurt your ankle or joint by tripping or stepping on an uneven surface. But one this is for sure whether you are an athlete or not, ankle sprains and muscle and joint sprains can be quite painful. This post by Bellaire ER is meant to bring a deeper insight on ankle sprains and other strains of muscles and joint and when to visit the clinic for treatment.
A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched or torn. Ligaments are the tough fibrous tissue bands that connect the bones in your joints together. The ankle is usually the most common victim of sprains. A strain, on the other hand, occurs when a muscle or a tendon is stretched or torn. Tendons are the fibrous cord tissues that join the muscles and the bones together. The hamstring muscle and the lower back are the most common locations where strains occur.
Causes of ankle sprains
Ankle sprains occur as a result of shifting your feet suddenly with a rapid movement. It often occurs to people playing vigorous sport, but it can occur to anyone at any time too. The sudden movement is what causes the ligaments to stretch or tear as the foot turns. The sprain can be mild or severe depending on the extent of the ligament damage. A mile sprain usually causes the ankle to swell and be tender and stiff. Pain is usually present, but it is not that sharp. One can walk. A severe sprain is usually characterized by a massive amount of pain that makes walking difficult. The ankle may feel wobbly.
Causes of muscle strains
Muscles strains will occur to you when your muscles are subjected to excessive and extensive force or work that they are not used to. The chances of them occurring increase when you do not warm up properly before you engage in strenuous physical activity, when you have poor flexibility, when you condition your body poorly and when you are fatigued. You can also get a muscle strain by slipping or when you lose your footing, jumping, running, when lifting heavy objects and when you position yourself in the wrong manner while lifting something heavy.
Cold weather usually increases the chances of one getting a muscles strain because lower temperatures usually cause the muscles to become stiffer. Also, you can get a muscle strain if you sit in an awkward position in your desk at work or when you continually maintain poor posture.
Diagnosis and treatment of an Ankle sprain and other strains of muscles and joints
If you sprain your ankle or you get a muscle or joint strain that is mild, simple first aid will do the trick. All you have to do is to relax your muscles or injured joint. This means that you will have to spend the next couple of days doing minimal activity. While resting, apply ice and pressure on the injured muscle to minimize swelling and to numb the pain. You may use anti-inflammatory medication too. Also, try to keep the injured part of your body above your heart level as much as you can.
If you have performed these and after a few days you notice that the pain is seemingly not subsiding, the area injured is getting numb, you are unable to walk due to pain, and there is blood emanating from the injured spot, rush to see a doctor.
The first step in the doctor’s exam usually is the diagnosis. The healthcare specialist may want to know the circumstances surrounding the injury and whether your muscles or joints were damaged due to the impact. The specialists may get x-ray scans to check whether your bones were broken. An MRI or a CT scan may be performed to evaluate the condition of the ankle joint, the muscles and the bones. They, also, help detect damage to the muscles, tendons, cartilages, ligaments and other structures around the injured organ.
Most of the times the physical exam is enough, but if there is tissue damage or if there is a broken bone and the condition is serious, surgery may be required. Sometimes surgery is considered if the patient intends to get back to their activity after recovery. In such cases, surgery may be considered to speed up the healing process by repairing the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Normally surgery is not usually a must since not all ligaments need surgical repair.
Mild strains on various parts of the body are pretty normal and can occur at any time. However, if upon administering first aid and taking medication the pain does not subside, that should be an indicator that you need to visit the clinic. Sometimes the damage may be more serious than it seems and things can get worse if treatment is not administered early enough.