Do You Have a Ligament Injury? Sprain Treatment Is Available in Houston, TX
A sprain is an injury to a ligament, which is a tough, flexible band of tissue that connects and secures the ends of two bones where they come together in a joint. If a ligament is stretched beyond its normal capacity, it can become damaged. The damage can range in severity from minor tissue fraying to a partial tear to a complete rupture. A sprained ligament typically swells rapidly and produces pain. Most sprains occur in the ankle, knee, wrist and thumb joints.
When to see a physician for sprain treatment
A mild to moderate sprain may resolve on its own. However, some sprains are accompanied by other, more serious injuries, such as fractures. Therefore, it’s important to seek sprain treatment from a physician if the symptoms don’t improve within two or three days, or sooner if:
- The pain is very severe
- The affected joint feels numb or unstable
- Warmth or redness develops around the injury site
- The same joint has been injured in the past
What does sprain treatment involve?
Most physicians advise their patients to begin sprain treatment with P.R.I.C.E. therapy, which includes:
- Protection – A brace or other stabilizing device can be worn to immobilize the affected limb while the injury heals.
- Rest – A few days of rest can be helpful, but it’s important to move as much as possible to minimize stiffness and deconditioning during the healing process. Crutches or a splint may be used to enhance mobility. Also, riding a stationary bicycle can provide a good workout with minimal stress on an injured joint.
- Ice – To reduce painful inflammation, a cold pack or a compression sleeve filled with cold water should be applied to the affected area for 15-20 minutes as soon as possible, then 4-8 times daily thereafter.
- Compression – An elastic wrap or compression bandage can be worn to support and stabilize the injured ligament as it heals.
- Elevation – To limit swelling, the injured limb should be raised above heart level when possible.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, may be taken to help manage pain during the recovery process, which may span a few days to a few months. During that time, physical activity should be gradually increased as comfort allows. A physician or physical therapist can recommend appropriate strength and stability exercises to optimize healing and minimize the risk of re-injury.
If you’d like to discuss sprain treatment with a joint specialist at Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, Texas, contact us today. Our practice welcomes patients from Houston and all surrounding Texas areas.