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Treatment of Ligament Sprains
A sprain is an injury to a ligament (tissue that connects two or more bones at a joint). In a sprain, one or more ligaments is stretched or torn. Sports people, particularly soccer players will often sprain their ankle joint. A sudden twist or strange movement (often during running); can lead to the overstretching of the ligaments that support the joint. Pain and swelling are the two most common signs of a sprain.
What should you do if this happens to you?
*Rest- stop your activity and rest the joint that is injured
*Ice- Apply cool (not ice directly from the freezer) packs to the joint for 20minutes at a time. Allow the skin the return to body temperature before reapplying.
*Compression- Bandages applied to the joint correctly can decrease the swelling that will occur. If you are wearing a shoe when you sprain your ankle, try to keep the shoe on as this provides some compression as you ice it.
*Elevation- Keeping the joint elevated will slow blood flow to the area and therefore decrease the amount of swelling that will occur.
*Return to play- be patient, the joint needs time to heal. Correct strapping to support the injured ligaments can help to prevent reoccurrence of the sprain due to instability.
What not to do! (For at least 48hours post-injury)
*Heat- this increases blood flow to the area and will increase swelling. Greater swelling in the joint will increase the time it takes to recover (More time off!)
*Alcohol- Although it is tempting, consuming alcoholic beverages after injury will again slow healing and can lead to further injury.
*Run- (Or any vigorous activity) Any activity that puts a strain on the joint can stretch the ligament and it will heal in a stretched position (therefore unstable)
*Massage- Again, this will increase blood flow to the area and impact on swelling and recovery.