What are Sprains?
Sprains are very common injuries that usually occur in work or sports activities. Usually the ankles are the most likely joints to have sprains.
What are the Joints?
The joints are integrated by the limbs of the bones and they are covered by cartilaginous tissue, while they are moved by muscles and reinforced by ligaments. In that sense, the ligaments are strong and flexible fibers with the ability to hold the bones together.
How do Sprains Occur?
If for any reason the ligaments in a joint become too stretched or broken, it is when a sprain occurs, while if the lesion is important enough that the ligament cannot hold the bones to maintain its position and they separate, what happens is a dislocation.
How is a Sprain Different from a Dislocation?
Basically the difference between a sprain and a dislocation is that in the sprain the position of the bone does not vary, while in a dislocation the bones separate. This can be visualized by taking an x-ray. Because the ligaments are innervated by nerve fibers, any distention or tear that they suffer produces intense pain on palpation where the sprain has occurred or when the joint is moved. In addition, the inability to perform certain movements, heat and redness in the injured area is observed. Depending on the severity of the injury, there may be partial ligament rupture or complete rupture. In the case of a small or partial break it is usually the most frequent type of sprain. It is usually very common for the sprain to come by having forced the joint movement to the maximum, or because that movement has led to an unnatural position of the joint.
Because of this, and other causes, sprains occur, such as as a result of sudden and excessive movements, also due to falls, sprains or blows that can displace the joint from its normal position, distending or breaking the ligaments that maintain the joint. Another common cause of sprain occurs during the practice of certain sports, which would explain the reason why the highest incidence of such injuries is observed in young people and athletes.
Types of Sprains:
There are several types of sprains depending on the degree of severity in which the ligaments in the joint are affected. Among the factors that favor the appearance of sprains, although it seems paradoxical, there is both excessive and low or no physical activity.
“Care must be taken that physical activity should be carried out in conditions of prevention in order to prevent the appearance of a sprain”.
It is very important to have adequate muscle tone, since a low muscle tone predisposes to the appearance of sprains. Other factors that favor the appearance of sprains are the anatomical alterations and the type of footwear, the footwear being excessively high counterproductive because it favors the appearance of sprains, particularly at the level of the ankle joint.
Because of their severity, sprains are classified into three large groups:
In grade I, mild distensions are included, they cause micro-trauma to the ligament, but joint stability is not altered, so that the patient can resume normal activities after 2 or 3 weeks.
In grade II there is a great stretch of the fibers and therefore it involves a partial rupture of the ligament. In this type of sprains swelling and ecchymosis is observed (where the skin acquires the characteristic purple color). However, some joint stability still persists, since some fibers have not been injured. In these cases, a rest period of 3 to 6 weeks is usually required before returning to normal activity.
In grade III, ligament rupture is total, so joint instability is also total. In addition to affecting the joint itself, in the most severe cases, it can affect other surrounding structures such as tendons, bones, nerves or blood vessels. In grades III of injury, being the most severe cases of sprains, it takes at least about 8 weeks of rest to get the ligaments to heal, however, on many occasions, not only rest, but a surgical intervention is required.
What Joints are Usually the Most Affected by Sprains?
Generally, the most common joint that usually suffers sprains is the ankle joint (ankle sprain). This is due to the type of work and / or sports activities that usually “support” the ankle joint. Being the hinge joint type “hinge”, the load they receive is very large. Then, other joints that are also prone to sprains are the joints of the fingers, being the sprains of the thumb quite common in sports activities such as skiing and martial arts, where these sports activities are also often frequent sprains of the thumbs of the feet. Sprains at the level of the joints of the wrists, knees and ankles. The sprains are usually the result of torsions. Sprains may also appear at the level of the spine, especially at the level of the cervical spine. As you have seen, sprains are usually common joint injuries, and in future articles we will discuss how to prevent and treat them.
Sprain Prevention and Treatment:
As we told you, the joints are integrated among other things by ligaments, which are like strings that limit our movements. But, when we force these ligaments to acquire a greater range of motion, they stretch too much and that is when a sprain occurs. The sprain is a very annoying lesion and you have to pay attention to avoid other possible sprains, because when we sprain a certain joint in the body, that joint is more sensitive and is an area that is more exposed to suffer again Another sprain. Sprains are a type of injury that athletes usually suffer, such as runners, and in that case it usually happens when they step on some irregularity on the ground, such as a bump, causing the foot to twist, thus forcing the ligament, producing this sprain.
How to Prevent Sprains
In order to prevent a sprain it is recommended to wear appropriate shoes in running sessions and run on flat surfaces. Before going for a run you have to do warm-up exercises which include stretching exercises. In addition to prevent ankle sprain, which is the most common of all sprains, it is advisable to train proprioceptive capacity. That is, work the ability to step on well, which produces an increase in strength and coordination, preventing the risk of suffering a 90% sprain. When proprioception is developed, proprioceptive exercises are carried out, which usually require perseverance, but are usually simple exercises, such as standing on a lame leg on cushions or any surface that is not stable. Thanks to these exercises you get more control over the movements you make.
What to Do If You Have a Sprain?
But, if despite the preventive exercises, you also suffer a sprain, the first thing you have to do is rest. You should also apply cold in the affected area, in addition to performing a bandage made by a professional, this fact is essential, because if the bandage is badly made, instead of improving, you will make the situation worse. If you have a sprain, you should be patient until the injury is completely healthy. Do not try to force the area early. We are sure that if you apply preventive measures, the risk of having a sprain will be much lower, but if you get it if you follow these tips and have patience, the sprain will heal properly.