What is a Sprain?
A sprain is an injury involving a ligament. Ligaments are connective tissue that hold our bones together at our joints. Sprains can happen when a joint goes beyond its functional range of motion, causing a traumatic stretch of the ligament or ligaments holding the joint together. The severity of this trauma can range from a minor sprain, which will resolve in a few days, to a major rupture of one or multiple ligaments that will require surgery and immobilisation to recover. They are typically graded on a scale of 1-3. A first degree sprain is a minor pulling or stretching of the ligament resulting in no tearing. A second degree sprain is a bit more major, ranging from small to large partial tearing of the fibres of the ligament. A third degree sprain is a complete tear of the ligament. In some, but not all cases, surgery can be suggested for third degree sprains.
Typical symptoms of ligament sprains include pain, swelling, reduced range of motion and weakness. There may also be bruising if there is substantial swelling. Bruising may be a sign of a higher severity of injury.
The first step to rehabilitation is a complete assessment to determine which ligament(s) have been injured and what other areas have been affected. Typically, the cause of these injuries is trauma, but we always want to also look for anything underlying to prevent future injuries and better rehabilitate this one. Hands-on therapy to help remove swelling, increase range of motion and joint mobility, and release muscles that have gone into spasm as a result of injury will be important. It will also be important to develop a customized exercise program to strengthen the muscles around the injured ligament, restore range of motion and flexibility and promote proprioception and balance. Proprioception is the ability to know what your body is doing in space without looking at it. It is our balance and our ability to react to unstable situations (which are ever present in life and in sport). It is incredibly important to work on proprioception after a ligament injury because ligaments hold receptors that communicate with the brain and allow for proprioception. Therefore, when ligaments become damaged, so do those receptors, so we need to build them back up. Ligaments are soft tissues and, therefore, their healing time can generally be in the 4 to 6-week healing time frame. However, it will greatly depend on the grade of the sprain and whether or not surgical intervention is required.
As with all injuries, this information is simply a guide, and it is always best to check in with a Physiotherapist or Athletic Therapist to have a personalized assessment and hear recommendations for what you and your body may specifically need.
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Inertia Physio+ offers Kanata and Stittsville exceptional Physiotherapy, Athletic Therapy and Registered Massage Therapy with private treatment rooms, one on one care, a maximum of two patients per hour and treatment focused on the evidence based practices of manual and exercise therapy. Don’t suffer any longer. If you have pain or injury, our Kanata and Stittsville Physiotherapy, Athletic Therapy and Registered Massage Therapy team is here to help you get back to life pain free life and activities. Please reach out to us at (613) 672-2200 or firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment today! You are also welcome to book online. We also offer direct billing on Physiotherapy and Massage Therapy services whenever your plan allows.
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