Sprains & Strains

People aged 15 – 24 experience the highest number of sprain and strain injuries

Over 1.5 million people head to the doctor for sprain and strain injuries each year

The ankle is the most commonly sprained joint

WHAT CAUSES

Sprains and Strains?

Muscle and ligament injuries are common in sport. Sprains involve tearing the connective tissue that holds joints together. Common sites for sprains include thumbs and wrists. Strains occur when a muscle tears suddenly and unexpectedly – usually due to fatigue, overuse, or improper use of a muscle.

Sprained wrist

HOW TO TREAT

Sprains

Elevate the injured area and apply a cold pack at intervals of about 15 minutes every 2-3 hours for the first 72 hours after injury. Then, wrap firmly with a conforming bandage to help reduce swelling and provide stability to the injury. 

Watch the video to learn how to apply a heavyweight conforming bandage.

HOW TO TREAT

Strains

Address a muscle strain in a similar manner to a sprain – resting, icing, compressing and elevating the injured area. Be careful not to wrap your bandage too tightly, which can reduce blood circulation. Use sports tape to restrict movement and prevent further injury. 

Watch the video to learn how to apply sports tape.

How serious is a sprain or strain?

Because sprains and strains are tissue injuries, they’re measured by the amount of tearing in the muscle.

Grade 1 – Some tearing

  • Moderately painful and swollen, with mostly unaffected strength and usability
  • Usually treatable with rest, ice, compression and elevation

Grade 2 – Considerable tearing

  • Painful and swollen, with some reduced strength and usability
  • Often treatable with rest, ice, compression, elevation and physiotherapy

Grade 3 – Complete tearing

  • Severely painful and swollen, with considerable loss of strength and usability
  • Often only treatable with surgery

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