Pain and Sprains: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments
Sprains and strains occur when muscles or other soft tissues near your bones stretch or tear, often causing bruising, swelling and pain. The primary difference between the two injuries is that sprains affect ligaments (cartilage attaching one bone to another) and strains affect muscles and tendons. Depending on the location of the injury, patients may be unable to bear weight until healing takes place.
Caused by abnormal twisting, hyperextension or tearing, foot sprains and strains typically occur during an athletic event or accident.
Sprains and strains are often evident when there is pain with movement, tenderness, bruising, swelling, and an inability to walk normally.
A combination of physical examination and x-rays can help to confirm the diagnosis of a foot sprain or strain, after which a grade of severity (mild, moderate or severe) will be determined.
Treatment is typically non-invasive, but healing requires time, patience and rest. Depending on the severity of the injury, a bandage, brace or cast may be applied. It’s also important to keep the foot elevated and apply heat or ice to help alleviate pain. Over-the counter anti-inflammatory medication can also reduce pain and swelling.