Acute sprains and strains may impede performance and delay return to a sport. Proper management, treatment, and prevention is essential to recovering effectively. An athlete must first understand the definition and recognize the differences between a “sprain” and a “strain.” A sprain is defined as a violent overstretching of one or more ligaments in a joint. A sprain can result in pain, tenderness, swelling or bruising at the joint. A strain is defined as a stress or direct injury to the muscle or tendon. A strain may also cause pain when moving or stretching the injured muscle, but can also cause muscle spasms.
1) Grade I – Mild Strain: slightly pulled muscle with no muscle or tendon tears and no loss of strength and low levels of pain
2) Grade II – Moderate Strain: partial tearing of the muscle or tendon at the bone attachment with reduced strength, moderate pain levels
3) Grade III – Severe Strain: complete rupture of muscle-tendon-bone attachment with separation, substantial loss in strength and high levels of pain
1) Grade I – Mild Sprain: minor tearing of some ligament, no loss of function
2) Grade II – Moderate Sprain: partial rupture of portion of ligament, moderate loss of function
3) Grade III – Severe Sprain: complete rupture of ligament or separation of ligament from bone, substantial loss of function
2) ICE: Sudden cold may help constrict capillaries and blood vessels to slow or restrict internal bleeding. Place an ice pack between a towel or dry cloth. Apply ice every hour for 10 to 20 minutes at a time.
3) COMPRESS: Compression can help reduce swelling post-injury. Wrap the injured part firmly with an elasticized bandage, compression sleeve, or a cloth. Do NOT wrap the cloth too tightly as it may cut off blood circulation and lead to more swelling.
4) ELEVATE: Elevate the injured part about level of the heart to reduce swelling and pain. Place a soft object such as a pillow or piece of clothing to use as a prop below the body part.
Continue to follow the above RICE method for two to three days post-injury. Daily stretching may help loosen the muscle. Key to prevention is to stretch the tight muscles and strengthen the weak muscles.
Watch the videos below on how to recover from a common ankle sprain or shoulder strain:
Caitlyn Dunphy, Physiotherapist at InSync Physiotherapy Burnaby Clinic on her trip to Honduras,
“I recently returned from volunteering with Global Brigades in Matasanos, Honduras. They are an amazing organization that creates sustainable change in communities by training local health staff, creating health systems, community owned banks, clean water systems, sanitation infrastructure and business development. I was on the medical/dental Brigade doing Physiotherapy work.
The following 3 days were clinic days. The local school shut down and the classrooms were used as clinic rooms. Community members lined up, sometimes the entire day in 35 degree heat, to see the medical/dental team. When they entered the clinic they would get triaged, go to the doctor consultation station and/or the dental station, and get prescriptions filled. Women would also see the gynecologist and children would go to the children education station to learn about proper tooth health and receive fluoride treatments. If a patient had a musculoskeletal problem then the doctor would refer them to the Physiotherapy station.
All of the doctors, dentists (except for one Canadian) and the pharmacist were Honduran health care professionals from the city,
On the last day we went into 3 homes and built eco-stoves. Asthma rates are prevalent due to a lack of proper ventilation in traditional stoves, as well as burning garbage. Diabetes and high blood pressure rates are also high due to poor diet/lack of exercise.
One of the quotes we discussed at a team meeting was “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are” which is an extremely relevant quote currently. This trip was an amazing experiences and one that I will definitely never forget.”