ankle sprain

There are many injuries that we treat on a regular basis, and sprains and strains are two of them. They both can cause a great degree of discomfort, and when our patients come to Westwood Foot Clinic complaining of pain, it is our job to diagnose the exact reason for it and then create a tailored plan of treatment specific to our patient’s needs.

There are many reasons why you may be feeling pain in your foot or ankle, so we encourage you to visit us as soon as symptoms arise. Dr. Tom Silver can pinpoint the nature and severity of your injury and offer quick, effective and state-of-the-art treatment. Call our office today at (763) 231-2341 for help.

Sprains and Strains: What Is the Difference?

These two words are often used interchangeably. If you have sustained an injury, you may assume its either one or the other. Many often categorize a strain as being minor in nature compared to a sprain. The fact is they share similar signs and symptoms, but they affect different parts of your body.

With feet, the most common place for a sprain to happen is the ankle. A sprain involves the stretching and/or tearing of the ligaments that hold the bones of the ankle joint together. The job these ligaments perform is to stabilize the joint, and when they are pushed beyond their normal range of motion a sprain happens and they are weakened. A sprain can vary in severity, and symptoms include pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising, and inflammation. With a more severe sprain, ligaments can be torn completely, and you may hear a popping sound at the time of the injury followed by intense pain. In this situation, the ankle joint becomes completely unstable and you most likely would lose the ability to bear weight on it.

A strain on the other hand, involves an injury to a muscle or tendon rather than a ligament. Tendons are thick cords of tissue that attach muscles to bone. Most of the time strains occur from overuse. Intense training, taking on too much too fast during a new activity, or lack of rest during exercise can lead to a strain. Overstretching, or a direct blow, can cause an acute strain. Common places for strains to occur are the hamstring muscle in the back of the thigh and in the lower back. In a severe strain, the muscle or tendon could become completely ruptured, in which case it would be incapacitating. Symptoms you would feel with a strain include swelling, inflammation, muscle spasms, muscle weakness, and cramping.

How Are Sprains and Strains Treated?

We have treated patients of all ages with these types of injuries. Those involved in sports and high impact activities are particularly at risk, but either injury can happen to anyone at any time. Having a history of sprains or strains and being overweight are two factors that increase your risk for injury.

We typically categorize these injuries as mild, moderate, or severe. You may also hear them referred to as a first, second, or third degree injury. Our first action step is to determine the nature and extent of your injury. Through physical exam, X-ray, or CT scan if necessary, we can diagnose whether you have a sprain or strain, judge its severity, and then create an appropriate treatment plan for you.

A mild injury may simply involve use of an over-the-counter pain reliever and following the RICE protocol, which involves: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. A more severe sprain or strain may require physical therapy, immobilization, and possibly surgery if torn ligaments and ruptured muscles need to be repaired.

Contact Us Today

Quick treatment helps minimize damage to the affected area and prevents the injury from turning into a serious complication. If you suspect either of these injuries, please contact us as soon as possible, even if your symptoms are minor. We can confirm the nature of your injury and provide the treatment necessary to keep your foot or ankle in good health and free of pain.

Call Dr. Tom Silver at (763) 231-2341 or make an appointment online today appointment online today.

Westwood Foot Clinic proudly serves the communities of St. Louis Park, New Hope, Plymouth, Wayzata, and Minneapolis.

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