The tissue which connects bones to a joint is called a ligament. When a ligament is torn or stretched beyond the usual limit due to any kind of injury, the condition is referred to as a sprain. A sprain also occurs when the fibres of ligaments are partially torn. A ligament provides support and stability to your bones. It takes about six weeks to heal a sprained ankle or a sprained wrist. A sprain injury should not be ignored as it may become a chronic problem.
Where do sprains usually occur?
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Knee sprains are most common among the footballers. There are four ligaments in knees that help it in stretching or bending and even act as a hinge joint. Neck sprains are usually caused due to a car accident when the ligaments supporting the bones of cervical vertebrae are torn. Wrists can also suffer from a sprain, and it is common among the players of basketball, tennis, cricket (spinners) and other throwing sports. A sprained part should be kept at complete rest until you visit a doctor.
Ice therapy is an essential part of treating a sprained area.
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Whenever an area of your body suffers a sprain, it must be compressed with crushed ice or ice cubes. If there is no ice, then the affected area must be compressed with chilled water bags, which are advised to be kept till the pain is reduced. The ice therapy should be given as soon as possible in order to avoid internal bleeding and accumulation of fluid in the injured area. You can use bags of frozen vegetables as a substitute for ice. Put some salt on the ice you have kept in a ziplock bag. Salt helps in lowering the freezing point of ice and prevents melting soon.
Wearing a brace does not help in preventing a sprain.
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Wearing a brace gives support and protection to the joint of the sprained area. It is usually worn by the athletes who are into basketball or tennis or any other sport, which involves a rigorous movement of the arms or wrists. Wearing a brace in case of an ankle or wrist sprain speeds up the healing process as the movement of the affected area is restricted. If you are prone to sprain injuries, it is advisable to wear braces before doing rigorous activities.
Gentle exercises help in restoring flexibility of your sprained ligament.
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It is important to rest the sprained area after an injury, however, as one recovers it is crucial moving the treated part of the body as per the level of tolerance of pain. Usually, ligaments become stiff after injury and the stiffness is removed and mobility of the joint is restored through gentle exercise. According to the orthopaedic doctors, ligaments heal faster when they are little stressed. Avoid exercising if you experience pain.