Sprain is a condition, characterized by damage to one or more ligaments due to trauma. This causes the area or joint to be used beyond its range of motion. The condition is often referred to as torn ligament.
Sprain injury presents with the following signs and symptoms :
If sprains are treated on time then the prognosis of the condition is excellent. Individuals suffering acute ankle sprain, recover within 2 weeks to 36 months; with major amount of recovery occurring in the first 6 months .
It has also been reported that after about 1 year, the risk of suffering recurrent ankle sprain is similar to pre-injury levels. However, with prompt treatment, the prognosis of recurrent sprains is also excellent, with full recovery occurring within few weeks. Failure to initiate prompt treatment, can lead to functional instability which would in turn make the affected area more prone to recurrent injuries, chronic pain and degenerative bone changes that would set in at early stages .
The various factors that contribute to development of sprains include:
The exact incidence of sprains is not known, owing to the fact that such type of injuries are self treated and seldom require medical intervention. From the available data, it can be estimated that more than about 23,000 individuals per day require medical treatment for ankle sprains . It has also been estimated that females who play basket ball are more likely to suffer from first time inversion injury, as compared to those playing other sports.
A sprain occurs when the joint is exerted beyond its functional range. The ligaments that surround the joints are injured in sprain. Ligaments are fibers that are flexible in nature and strong enough to hold the bones together. Any injury to the ligaments causes the joints to swell and pain. The ligaments are responsible for providing mechanical support and give directed motion to the joint.
Any joint in the body can sustain a sprain injury. However, the common ones involved are the ankle and wrist, followed by knee joints. In addition, fingers and toes are also susceptible to suffer from sprain injury .
Sprains can be prevented by practicing muscle strengthening exercises regularly. Using proper footwear that would provide adequate support and stability to the ankle can be helpful in prevention of ankle sprains.
The most common areas susceptible to sprain are the ankle and wrist; however any joint can get affected. Severity of the condition gravely depends on the type of injury suffered. Minor injuries often do not require surgical intervention, but major ones that cause ligament rupture, call for surgical fixation. This is followed by immobilization for a certain period. Swelling and pain are the common symptoms of sprains .