Sprains, Strains, and Fractures

Warm weather means strolls in the park, jogs around the neighborhood, and bike rides around town. Warmer weather can also mean injuries. We wanted share tips on staying active and healthy as we head through spring and into summer.

What is the difference between a sprain, a strain, and a fracture?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “A sprain occurs when you overextend or tear a ligament while severely stressing a joint.” A strain, “there are two types of strains: acute and chronic. An acute strain occurs when a muscle becomes strained or pulled — or may even tear — when it stretches unusually far or abruptly. A chronic strain results from prolonged, repetitive movement of a muscle.” Finally, from the University of Rochester Medical Center, “breaks are a fracture, chip, or complete break in bone, often caused by accidents, sports injuries or bone weakness”

How to Avoid Strains and Sprains

Strains and sprains are often caused by physical activity, but they can be prevented by appropriate physical activity and preparation as well. First, always warm up properly, it starts with making sure your body is healthy for the exercise regime you are starting. Visit with your physician to make sure your body is healthy enough for physical activity. Second, from the Mayo Clinic, “Properly warming up before vigorous physical activity loosens your muscles and increases joint range of motion, making the muscles less tight and less prone to trauma and tears.” Light jogging followed by gentle stretching should happen before and after you exercise.

Stay active! Prolonged inactivity or infrequent activity can leave you in poor physical shape and make your muscles around key joints like ankles, fingers, elbows, knees, and shoulders too weak to prevent a strain or sprain. So make sure you are staying active.

Rest up because overdoing can make you susceptible to injury. So be sure to pace yourself, and stay alert during your physical activity.

What Should You Do if You think you have sprained, strained or fractured a body part?

When in doubt visit your physician because improperly treating any of these injuries can cause further damage and injury. The University of Rochester Medical Center suggests, “Bone breaks, unlike sprains and strains, should always be looked at by a healthcare provider to make sure of proper healing. Call your healthcare provider if the pain does not lessen or if the bone appears to be deformed. Seek urgent medical care if you have numbness, weakness, or poor circulation in the injured limb.”

The Mayo Clinic states that, “Mild sprains and strains can be treated at home.” Rest, ice, elevation and compression. Contact a doctor if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Can’t walk more than four steps without significant pain
  • Can’t move the affected joint
  • Have pain directly over the bones of an injured joint
  • Have numbness in any part of the injured area.

Please visit any of our six UNI locations if you think you have a strain, sprain or fracture.Our locations are equipped with x-ray machines and we can splint and cast. No appointment needed, walk-in, get evaluated, and feel better!

This information is not a substitute for medical advice nor is it intended as such. If you have questions about your health please contact our office, or 911 in case of an emergency.