If your ankle or wrist is hurting and swells to an abnormal size, then you may wonder what is wrong. It is more likely that you have a strain or a sprain rather than a fracture, but you should determine what the problem is by visiting the WellCare Urgent Care Center. With a physical examination and medical images, a physician can see if there is a broken bone, torn cartilage, or other problems in a joint. However, there is a difference between strains and sprains. A strain injury occurs when a band of tissue or a muscle that is attached to a bone is damaged. Alternatively, a sprain involves an injury to the band of tissues that connect two bones together.
The most common cause of sprains or strains is from playing sports that require twisting, running, or bouncing movements. Strains tend to occur in the hamstring muscles of the legs or in the lower area of the back while sprains are more likely in the wrists, knees, or ankles. Both types of injuries can include having tears in the tendons or muscles, leading to additional discomfort, swelling, or immobility. With a strain, you may experience a cramping sensation in the muscles that will radiate to other parts of your body.
There are other reasons why you could suffer a strain or a sprain. Overextending the arms to reach for something can injure the shoulder, neck, arm, or back muscles while walking on an uneven surface or tripping on the stairs can harm the ankles, back, or hips. Walking on a slippery surface, lifting heavy boxes, or engaging in strenuous sports can lead to an overused muscle. Some strains occur suddenly from one poorly executed movement, but there are also repetitive strain injuries that can take days, weeks, or months to occur.
The best treatment for most strains and sprains is by applying ice to the injured body part while elevating or resting the ankle or wrist. Keep the ice pack on the injury for 20 minutes each time, and you can repeat this process for several days. You may find relief from pain by wearing a compression garment or brace while the strain or sprain heals. It is possible to find these compression devices at local or online drugstores.
If you have sustained a strain or sprain then come into WellCare Urgent Care center right away to get immediate medical attention.