Joint sprains

Understanding Joint Sprains

A sprain is an injury to a ligament — a band of fibers that connects two bones in a joint. A sprain occurs when a ligament is stretched too far and tear partially or completely. Joint sprains are very common, especially in athletes and active people. Symptoms of a joint sprain may include pain, bruising, swelling, and loss of normal range of motion in the affected joint.

Types of Joint Sprains

There are different types of joint sprains, depending on the severity of the injury. The three types include:

  • Grade 1 Sprain: Minor damage to the ligament resulting in mild pain, swelling, and minimal loss of range of motion.
  • Grade 2 Sprain: Partial tear of the ligament resulting in moderate to severe pain, swelling, and moderate to severe loss of range of motion.
  • Grade 3 Sprain: Complete tear of the ligament resulting in intense pain, swelling, and loss of range of motion.

Causes of Joint Sprains

Joint sprains can occur due to various causes, including:

  • Sudden stretching of the joint beyond its normal range of motion
  • Excessive force on an already weakened ligament
  • Direct physical trauma to the joint
  • Weak core muscles
  • Worn-out shoe soles

Treatment of Joint Sprains

Treatment of a joint sprain can range from rest and home care to advanced therapy options. One of the most important aspects of treatment is rest. This may include avoiding participation in sports or any physical activities that may further injure the joint. Applying ice and compression can help reduce the swelling and inflammation associated with a joint sprain.

Physical therapy may also be used to help restore the range of motion of the joint and to improve overall strength and flexibility. Rehabilitation exercises should be customized to the individual patient’s needs and physical condition. In certain cases, surgery may be required to repair the torn ligament.