Muscles help a joint bend, extend, and rotate. Tendons attach muscles to bone. As the muscle contracts, it shortens and pulls on the tendon. A strain can occur when the muscle or tendon is stretched or torn. Overuse or over-stretching of the muscle can result in a strain. This injury is often refered to as a “pulled muscle.”
Ligaments are thick bands of tissues that surround the joints. They allow the movement of the joint only in specific directions. There are some joints that move in multiple planes, therefor they need more than one group of ligaments to hold the joint in proper alignment. When your ligament is stretched or torn, this injury is referred to as sprain.
Strains and sprains often occur together near a joint. This is because joints absorb the stress of movement and are vulnerable to be being twisted or wrenched. The common sites of injury are the ankles and knee.
When you put your body under stress, your muscles and joints are forced to perform movements that they are not used to performing. This can result in injury, thereby causing stress and/or a strain. Injury can occur from a single injury or may develop gradually after repetitions of a certain motion.
Pain is the first symptom of a strain or sprain followed by swelling. Spasms may also occur, but generally these take some time (minutes to hours) to develop. If the fibers of your ligament, muscle, or tendon are damaged, some bleeding may also occur. A hard knot may be felt near the site of injury. Intense pain, swelling, and spasms cause the body to protect the injury and limit your movement in areas where there is a sprain or strain.
The risk of strains and sprains increases with obesity or poor muscle conditioning.
A strain or a sprain can cause extreme pain, which may increase over the first couple days following injury. RICE is a method of self-care at home. It stands for Rest of the injured part, Placing Ice around the injury, Compression of the injured area and Providing Eelevation of the injury. If RICE treatment and over the counter medication does not alleviate your pain, you should visit your doctor.
Visiting a physician is essential to rule out an underlying condition that is causing your pain, especially around a joint. You should seek care immediately if you think that the bone or joint is dislocated, or you experience numbness or tingling along with the injury, or if the injured part of the body is cold and discolored.
Please also note that even if you can walk on an injured limb or move it, you may still have a broken bone. X-rays are performed to rule out fracture.
In children, bones, tendons and muscles are growing; hence, these structures can react differently to stress. It is important to send your child to a doctor if you suspect a ligament or tendon injury.
Sprains and Strains are usually treated at home using RICE interventions. However, if the injury is more severe, you may be placed in a splint or cast in order to rest the injury.
In some cases, surgery is required to fix complete tears of muscles or tendons to allow complete return of function and to allow the proper functioning of the muscles.
Tears in the ligament that stabilize joints may also need repair, and most of them are treated with short-term immobilization and early return to activity.
Sometimes, a sling for an arm injury or crutches for a leg injury are advised in order to provide rest to the injury. Removable splints also provide protection to the injured part from further damage and movement.
For severe injuries, your physician may advise using a non-removable splint made of plaster or fiberglass. If surgery is considered, an orthopedic surgeon may get involved.
PRP for Sprains and Strains
Sprains and strains are fairly common injuries. They can occur from overuse or as the result of a fall or heavy blow. It is very important to treat strains or sprains right away in order to resume full mobility of the injured body part. Typically, when a person experiences either of the above, they are encouraged to rest, ice or perhaps brace the injury. Another option is the use of platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy.
PRP isn’t a new treatment. It has been around for awhile but has primarily been used in other branches of medicine. It is only in the last decade that it’s been utilized for soft tissue injuries, such as sprains, strains, tendonitis and tendinosis. PRP has been shown to significantly speed up the amount of time it takes for injuries to heal. It is especially effective in accelerating the healing of bone and soft tissue injuries such as the aforementioned.
Rest, ice and bracing are the typical protocols for treating strains and sprains. However, they may or not be effective. The severity of the sprain or strain will have a huge impact on whether or not traditional treatment methods are enough. When it has been determined that they are not, it may be necessary to take a different approach.
PRP is so effective because of its use of platelets. Platelets are a blood component and contain growth factors, proteins that are essential in the body’s ability to heal itself. When a doctor administers PRP, he and she will take a small amount of the patient’s blood and separate out the components. The platelets are extracted and then injected into the part of the body that is injured.
The concentrated platelets and thus growth factors help to speed up the healing process. A doctor may prescribe PRP therapy when their patient is in a hurry to resume their normal activities, for instance, an athlete that wants to get back to his or her sport, may be a good candidate for PRP therapy. The same is true for individuals who aren’t haven’t much success with traditional treatment methods.
PRP therapy is considered to be cutting edge for the treatment of soft tissue injuries, including sprains and strains. It has received a great deal of notoriety because world-class professional athletes have used it to return to competition, much sooner than expected after undergoing PRP therapy. Examples include Blake Griffin (NBA), John Daly (professional golfer), Tiger Woods (professional golfer) and Alex Rodriguez (MLB) to name a few.
PRP therapy injections cost between $500 and $1500. The total cost of the procedure will be dependent upon the number of injections a person needs. Most people will require between 1 and 4. This exact amount will be determined by the doctor administering the procedure. Right now, it is difficult to find insurance companies willing to cover the cost PRP therapy, mostly because studies are still being done on the effectiveness of the popular, procedure and it is considered to be semi-experimental.
FAQ-Questions to Ask Your Doctor
1. Is PRP therapy a good option for my strain and/or sprain?
2. Why is PRP therapy better than traditional treatment methods?
3. Does your office accept installment payments?
4. How long have you been administering PRP therapy?
5. How successful has PRP therapy been for your patients?
Some of the serious complications of strains and sprains include muscle fibrosis, muscle atrophy, chronic ligament instability, heterotrophic ossification, and compartment syndrome.
Certain complications depend on the initial severity of the injury and rehabilitation protocol. Prolonged rest can lead to more fibrosis.
This condition is usually managed by long-term physiotherapy. It’s unlikely that these conditions require surgical intervention.
Prognosis is generally good. In most of the cases, sprain and strain is recovered within 6 months. Most of the strains and sprains heal on their own and do not cause any significant functional impairment. Recurrence of symptoms is frequent especially if you have severe injuries. Some individuals may need regular follow-up and monitoring to ensure the best possible outcome.
There are some ways that may help to prevent these injuries. You should always warm-up before exercising or working-out. A stretching program is helpful in minimizing the risk of injury. Even simple tasks at work can cause painful strains if the body is not ready to do the work. Wearing a brace or elastic support are some other precautionary measures to avoid sprains and strains. You should also engage in regular, moderate exercise to keep muscles and joints strong and flexible. You must wear proper footwear for the activity and avoid running on icy and/or uneven surfaces.
Questions a physician may ask you about your condition on your first doctor visit
- Did you have any recent injury or accident?
- Can you explain to me how the accident happened?
- Is the pain getting worse day by day?
- Have you tried any treatments at home? If yes, has it helped?
- Are there any limitations in your day-to-day activity?