Pains 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, sprains and strains in the hip or knee typically occur during an athletic event, a fall, or an accident. Sprains and strains can also occur from overuse when an activity happens repeatedly and the body doesn’t have time to heal in between occurrences.
Sprains and strains are often evident when there is pain with movement, tenderness, bruising, swelling, and sometimes an inability to walk normally.
A combination of physical examination and x-rays can help to confirm the diagnosis of a sprain or strain. This will help your provider determine the severity of the injury, ensure no other injuries has occurred (such as fracture) and help determine the best course of treatment.
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 affected leg elevated and apply heat or ice to help alleviate pain. Your provider may recommend over-the counter anti-inflammatory medication which can also reduce pain and swelling.