Sprains, Strains and Tears
A sprain is an injury to a ligament, whilst a strain is an injury to a muscle or tendon. Both can result in a lot of pain and bruising with a significant loss of time from sports.
A sprain is an injury to a ligament, the strong bands of tissue that connect a bone to another at a joint. The severity of a sprain can be classified by the amount of tissue tearing, impact on joint stability, pain and swelling.
Degree of Sprains
- 1st degree (mildest) – little tearing, pain or swelling; joint stability is good.
- 2nd degree – broadest range of damage, with moderate instability and moderate to severe pain and swelling.
- 3rd degree (most severe) – ligament is completely ruptured; joint stability is unstable; severe pain and swelling. Other tissues are often damaged.
A strain is damage to muscle fibres and to the other fibres that attach the muscle to the bone. Other names for a strain include “torn muscle”, “muscle pulled” and “ruptured tendon”
Degree of Strains
- 1st degree (mildest) – little tissue tearing; mild tenderness; pain with full range of motion
- 2nd degree – torn muscle or tendon tissues, limited motion; possibly some swelling or depression at the spot of injury
- 3rd degree (most severe) – limited or no movement; pain will be severe at first but may be painless after the initial injury
If your injury caused a deformity, significant swelling or pain, you should immobilise the area and see your local osteopath. Many fractures will not cause a deformity.
Treating a Sprain or Strain
management of both sprain and strains follow the PRICE principle:
- P – protect from further injury
- R – Restrict activity
- I – Apply ice
- C – Apply compression
- E – Elevate the injured area
The PRICE principle limits the amount of swelling at the injury and improves the healing process.
Staying Active Pays Off!
Those who are physically active tend to live longer, healthier lives. Research shows that moderate physical activity – such as 30 minutes a day of brisk walking significantly contributes to longevity. Even a person with risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes or smoking habit can gain real benefits from incorporating regular physical activity into their daily life.
Range of Motion
- Towel pull with toes
- draw the alphabet with ankle
Mild resistive exercises (regaining strength)
- Foot press against a solid object – up, down and side to side
- Tubing exercises in all motions (pain free)
- Toe raises (Advanced)
- Hops – start forward and back, short hops (Advanced)
- Weights – Heavy tubing of cuff weights (Advanced)
Joint position (Regaining balance)
- Standing with eyes closed – partial squats and side to side shifts
- One-legged stand with eyes closed (Advanced)
Functioning return to sport
- Performing sport specific exercise such as figure 8 or shuttle runs.
Initial Consultation & Treatment
- 45 – 60 minutes
Follow up Treatments
- 30 minutes