Posts Tagged ‘is my ankle sprained’

Is it a Sprain? Or is it a Strain?

sprain vs strainA common question we field from patients with injuries is, “Is it a sprain? Or is it a strain?” While they both result in similar pain and symptoms, sprains and strains are actually different injuries that involve completely different parts of the body.

A sprain is an injury that affects the ligaments, which are a type of connective tissue that connects bones to other bones. When a sprain occurs, the ligaments are either stretched or torn and depending on the severity of the stretching and tearing, can be very painful. Sprains most commonly affect the ankles, in particular the lateral (outside) portion of the ankle, which can occur from a variety of activities.

Strains, on the other hand, affect the tendons, the fibrous connective tissue that connects muscles to bones, or the muscles themselves. Strains involve the stretching and/or tearing of these tendons or muscles.

Symptoms of Sprains and Strains

The hallmark symptoms associated with sprains and strains are similar

  • Pain
  • Redness and/or bruising
  • Swelling and inflammation at the site of the injury
  • Stiffness in the affected area

Causes of Sprains and Strains

Sprains typically happen suddenly and can occur in a variety of ways. When a person falls or twists in a way that puts their body in an unusual position or is hit with an impact that does the same, sprains can occur. On the contrary, strains can occur over time as a result of prolonged, repetitive movements, or occur suddenly.

One of the most common causes of sprains and strains is participation in athletic activities.

Treatment of Sprains and Strains

Most sprains and strains can typically be resolved with the RICE method – rest, ice, compression and elevation. Depending on the severity of the injury, future treatment and recovery efforts may involve a combination of physical therapy and various exercise techniques.

Seek help from a sports medicine physician if you experience any of the following:

  • Cannot put weight on the affected area without feeling significant pain
  • Cannot move affected joint
  • Have numbness around the injured area
  • Have significant swelling and/or changes in skin color

With proper care, most sprains and strains will heal without long-term side effects.

Prevention of Sprains and Strains

While there is no true way to prevent all sprain and strain injuries, proper stretching and strengthening regimens can help keep your body strong and more resistant to many injuries, including sprains and strains.

The highly-trained physicians and surgeons at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center treat a wide variety of orthopaedic, spine and sports medicine conditions, including sprains and strains from the foot and ankle to hand and elbow.

About Dr. Olufade

Dr. Oluseun OlufadeOluseun Olufade MD, is board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Interventional Pain Medicine. He completed fellowship training in both Interventional Pain Medicine and Sports Medicine. During his fellowship training, he was a team physician for Philadelphia Union, a major league soccer (MLS) team, Widener University Football team and Interboro High School Football team.

Dr. Olufade employs a comprehensive approach in the treatment of sports related injuries and spinal disorders by integrating physical therapy, orthotic prescription and minimally invasive procedures. He specializes also in concussion, tendinopathies and platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections. He performs procedures such as fluoroscopic-guided spine injections and ultrasound guided peripheral joint injections. Dr. Olufade individualizes his plan with a focus on functional restoration.

Dr. Olufade has held many leadership roles including Chief Resident, Vice-President of Resident Physician Council of AAPM&R, President of his medical school class and Editor of the PM&R Newsletter. He has authored multiple book chapters and presented at national conferences.

Takeaways from Dr. Olufade’s Ankle Sprain Chat

Ankle SprainThanks to everyone who joined us Tuesday, May 27, for our live online chat on “Symptoms, diagnosis and treating an ankle sprain,” hosted by Emory Orthopaedics, Sports & Spine physician Oluseun Olufade, MD.

With summer coming into full swing, a lot of us are out, about and getting more active. Some of our activities can lead to ankle sprains. Dr. Olufade discussed some common misconceptions about treating sprained ankles and exercises you can do to strengthen your ankles to help prevent sprains.

See all of Dr. Olufade’s answers by checking out the chat transcript! Here are just a few highlights from the chat:

Question: My son rolled his ankle this weekend at the beach. What do I need to do?

Oluseun Olufade, MDDr. Olufade: Great question! We use something called the RICE principle. Start with “R”est by staying off the foot, “I”ce the ankle for 20 minutes at a time every hour or two, use “C”ompression, like an Ace bandage, and “E”levate the foot as much as possible.

 

Question: What are some common mistakes that people make when they think they have an ankle sprain? In other words, what do people do to “treat” ankle sprains that can actually make them worse?

Oluseun Olufade, MDDr. Olufade: Ankle sprains can be associated with fractures. Some people try to “walk it off” if they think they have an ankle sprain, and without a proper diagnosis, you could actually be doing more damage to your ankle without knowing it.

If you do have an ankle sprain (not a fracture) I would recommend resting the injured ankle for 3-5 days. Some people worry and stay off of the foot for too long. Prolonged immobilization will make for a longer recovery. People often also make the mistake of using heat on the acute ankle sprain. Heat can actually worsen swelling, so ice packs are recommended instead of heat.

Question: How can you tell if you have a fracture and not just a sprain? Are there any additional symptoms other than increased pain?

Oluseun Olufade, MDDr. Olufade: Fractures are usually diagnosed by x-rays. You should see a doctor to confirm whether you have a fracture or not.
 
 
 
 
 
If you missed out on this live chat, be sure to check out the full list of questions and answers on the web transcript. You can also visit emoryhealthcare.org/ortho for a full list sports medicine treatments offered.

If you have additional questions for Dr. Olufade, fee free to leave a comment in our comments area below.

Find Out How to Prevent, Diagnose & Treat Ankle Sprains

Ankle Sprain

Did you know that more than 9 million Americans suffer an ankle sprain each year? Well, if you are one of these individuals or want to learn more about how to prevent an ankle sprain join us on Tuesday, May 27 for a live online chat on “Preventing, Diagnosing & Treating Ankle Sprains” with Emory Othopaedics, Sports & Spine physician Oluseun Olufade, MD. He will be available to answer questions related to a sprained ankle such as:

  • Can I prevent an ankle sprain?
  • What are the symptoms of an ankle sprain?
  • How do you diagnose an ankle sprain?
  • How do you treat an ankle sprain?
  • Why should I go to Emory for sports medicine care

Emory Orthopaedic, Sports & Spine physician Dr. Olufade is a dedicated non-surgical sports medicine specialist who can offer tips and suggestions to keep you healthy or get you back to health so you can get back to your normal active routine! Sign Up for the Chat Now!