conditions we treat

Sprains and strains

Sprains and strains are injuries usually associated with quick athletic movements or lifting heavy objects. The injury comes on suddenly and is often acutely painful. 

A strain is an injury sustained by a muscle or tendon that involves damage to the muscle spindles frequently caused by quickly overstretching the muscle. A sprain is an injury sustained by a ligament that, similar to a strain, involves overstretching or tearing of the ligament.

Symptoms of sprains and strains include:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Feeling a pop or snap at time of injury
  • Pain with weight bearing
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Decreased range of motion

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How are sprains and strains treated?

Because sprains and strains involve different structures, the treatment strategy for each will differ. In sports medicine, decreasing activity levels due to sprain and strains may not always be possible since athletes need to return to play sooner than later. Left untreated, sprains and strains can turn into chronic conditions with complex compensation patterns.

Ankle sprains

Sports chiropractors regularly diagnose three types of ankle sprains. The most common is the inversion ankle sprain, which occurs when your ankle and foot roll inward, causing the lateral ligaments to stretch too far and possibly tear tendons and ligaments on the lateral side of your ankle and foot.

A less common sprain is the eversion ankle sprain. This type of sprain occurs when your ankle and foot roll outward and injure the tendons and ligaments on the inside of your foot and ankle.

The high ankle sprain is the least common and involves the two bones in your lower leg, the tibia and fibula, as well as the foot and ankle. Sometimes an injury exerts such severe force on the foot and ankle that it causes the soft tissues connecting the tibia and fibula (specifically called the syndesmosis) to overstretch, leading to a high ankle sprain.

Ankle sprains should not be ignored. Although many patients like to brush off the severity of a sprain, not addressing the injury may cause more long-term damage. The more severe the sprain, the more critical it is to properly diagnose and treat the condition as early as possible.

Ligament pain and sprains

Sprains are ligament injuries and have three levels of severity:

  • A first-degree injury/sprain refers to a mild sprain caused by the ligaments being overstretched.
  • A second-degree injury/sprain happens when your ligaments have stretched and have sustained a partial tear.
  • A third-degree injury/sprain is a total rupture of the ligaments, severe pain, swelling, and bruising is often present and the individual may not be able to fully bear weight.

At Premier Sports & Spine, a specially trained sports chiropractic physician will evaluate a sprain and create an individualized treatment plan. 

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Frequently asked questions

What can you expect from a visit with the sports chiropractors at Premier Sports & Spine? Read about what a visit entails in our FAQ.