Sprain

(Ligament Sprain)

Definition

A sprain is an injury that damages a ligament. A ligament is a firm, fibrous band of tissue. It connects 2 bones across a joint. There are ligaments crossing all of the joints in the body.
Sprain: Grade 2
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Causes

A sprain occurs when a force pushes the bones of a joint apart. If the force is intense enough, the ligament holding the joint together has to give.

Risk Factors

Sprains can occur with everyday activities, but they are more common during sports. Sports with high speeds and risk of collision have an increased risk of sprains. These sports include:
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Skiing
  • Gymnastics
Factors that may increase your risk of a sprain include:
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lack of flexibility
  • Coordination and balance difficulties
  • Sudden change in direction
  • Impact with object or other person
  • Misstep that causes a sudden strain at a joint

Symptoms

Symptoms of a sprain may include:
  • Pain immediately after the sprain—without treatment, the pain becomes worse over the next 24 hours
  • A popping sound
  • Local swelling, often within minutes
  • Bruising
  • Trouble moving the joint
  • Increased pain when putting pressure on the injured area
The most common joints involved include:
  • Ankle
  • Knee
  • Thumb or finger joints
  • Shoulder

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.Images may be needed of your joint. This will help check for damage to bones or other structures. Images may be taken with:Sprains are graded according to the amount of injury:
  • Grade 1—Some stretching with micro-tearing of ligaments
  • Grade 2—Partial tearing of ligaments
  • Grade 3—Complete tearing of ligaments

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