Lenox Health Greenwich Village Expert Insights: Understanding the difference between sprains and strains
January 1, 2020
By Dr. Daniel Seidman
A strain and sprain can look and feel similar. No matter how many times you roll, bend or twist your ankle, it can be hard to tell the difference between the two.
If you think you have a minor or moderate sprain or strain, you can treat it at home using the R.I.C.E. method; it can help speed healing and reduce pain and swelling up to 72 hours after injury.
Rest. Avoid weight bearing activity on the injury to avoid further damage. Use crutches or splints, if necessary.
Ice. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes, two to three times every hour to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Compression. Wrap the affected area with an elastic bandage or compression sleeve to reduce swelling and stabilize the area.
Elevation. Elevate the injured part above your heart to decrease swelling and pain and help fluid return to your circulatory system.
|"Popping" sound or sensation in the joint|
|Loss of strength|
Did you know?
- A strain is the tearing of a muscle where as a sprain is the tearing of a ligament.
- Sprains most commonly occur in the wrist, thumb, knee and ankle, while strains are found mostly in the elbow, lower back and hamstring.
- Both injuries can take up to 3 months to fell normal following appropriate R.I.C.E. and often physical therapy – severe sprains may be unable to bear weight for up 2 weeks.
- Alcohol increases swelling and can cause additional damage to the injury. For optimal recovery, skip the wine while using the R.I.C.E. method.
If you’re experiencing minor aches and pains or suffering from a major injury, our Orthopaedic Institute is here for you. Click here to learn more.
An expert in orthopaedics, Dan Seidman, MD, specializes in orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Seidman, at Lenox Health Greenwich Village, please call 646.741.5324.