If you’ve suffered a sprain, you could be off your feet or without use of your hands for a few weeks. While that’s inconvenient enough, you’ll also have to deal with the aches and pains of the sprain, which can keep you up at night. Fortunately, sprains are a relatively minor injury, and you can take steps to reduce the recovery time for your sprain, so that you can remain active and get back to your day to day. Here at Virginia Premium Medical Care, we work with folks who are suffering from sprains, and we’d be happy to take a look at your sprain to assess the severity of the strain, and to provide treatment as necessary. Reach out to us to schedule an appointment to attend to your strain. In the meantime, you can follow the strain care tips below to keep your strain pain (excuse the rhyme!) to a minimum**. Before we get started, we’re going to cover what a sprain is, and the various severities of a sprain that you may be suffering.

What is a sprain?

A sprain can occur when you’re running and roll your ankle, when you’re skateboarding and fall on your wrist, or when you’re playing football and end up overextending your thumb to make a catch. Sprains happen when the ligaments of our joints are stretched beyond their normal limitations, which results in damage and tearing. In extreme cases, ligaments may detach from the bones that hold them in place. Sprains are painful, and usually result in swelling and bruising at the location of the sprain. It may also be difficult to move the joint where the sprain occurred. Sprain injury symptoms can last from a day to more than a month, depending on the severity of the sprain and other factors. The most common sprains include sprained ankles, wrists, thumbs, and knees, although sprains can occur with joints and ligaments throughout the body.

Sprain Severities

The National Institutes of Health notes that there are three types of sprain severities:

“Grade I, minor. You have small tears in the ligaments.

Grade II, moderate. You have large tears in the ligaments.

Grade III, severe. The ligaments are completely disrupted or detached from the bone.”

The severity of a sprain will affect its recovery time, and the treatment that may be necessary to recover. If you’re suffering from a sprain, you may need to attain treatment from a medical professional, and those suffering from a severe sprain may need to go through surgery and/or physical therapy to make a recovery from their sprain.

Tips to Recover From a Sprain

If you’ve suffered a sprain, the road to recovery can be difficult, especially since you can be immobilized for some time. However, there are steps that you can take to try to reduce the recovery time for your sprain. Following these tips may improve the healing process for your sprain, and they may reduce your recovery time.

Seek medical attention: Those suffering from more severe sprains should seek medical advice from a doctor. Your physician will assess the severity of your sprain and may formulate a plan of treatment that could include a combination of physical therapy, pain medication, and possibly surgery, among other treatments.

Rest your injured joint: While you’re recovering, it’s best to keep your sprained joint from being used. You should refrain from bending your sprained joint while recovering until you are able to do so without discomfort, and you should avoid placing weight or strain on the joint throughout your recovery period. Your doctor may recommend that you use crutches (for ankle sprains), a splint (for wrist sprains), or another device to keep your joint secured throughout the recovery process. When sleeping, you can rest your injured joint on a pillow to elevate it above the rest of the body — this can help to reduce swelling and pain.

Take steps to reduce swelling: Swelling can prove painful, and it can be reduced by elevating the joint, icing your joint (more about this below), compressing the joint (often with a bandage wrap), using a splint to keep the joint still, and resting the joint. If swelling continues to persist, you may have a torn artery and you should seek medical attention.

Take appropriate pain medication: Your doctor may recommend pain medication, ranging from over the counter painkillers (like Advil, Motrin, Tylenol, Aleve, etc.) to prescription medication. Follow your doctor’s instructions and the instructions on the bottle. Those who are suffering from heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, or stomach ulcers, as well as those who have experienced internal bleeding in the past should speak with their doctor before using any pain medication.

Ice your sprain, as recommended by your doctor: Icing your sprain can help to reduce swelling at the location of the joint, which may provide some pain relief and may improve your recovery time. Ask your doctor for specific icing instructions — often it is recommended to ice the joint for a period of 20 minutes at a time for intervals of four to eight times per day. You should not place ice directly on your skin. Instead, wrap ice or an ice pack in a towel or cloth, placing it against the joint.

Visit Virginia Premium Medical Care

If you’ve just endured a sprain, we’d be happy to take a look at it. We understand how painful sprains can prove to be, and how inconvenient they can be, since you may be immobilized for a while. We strive to ensure that your recovery is quick and as painless as possible. Schedule an appointment at our clinic in Ashburn, or stop by for a drop-in appointment during our open hours.

**Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice. If you’re suffering from an illness, need treatment, or want medical advice, consult a doctor.