Dislocation of bones is another possible injury that can be confused with sprains
Being subjected to various joint injuries can also result in sprains
Reducing body weight is also quite helpful. It helps people to stay away from many health issues
A sprain can occur to anyone at anytime and therefore, it is definitely important to obtain a proper idea about it in case of an unexpected emergency. The human body is made of certain joints that assist in movement.
Joints are the areas that provide attachment to two bones for the purpose of body movements. Joints are stabilized by ‘ligaments’ that help attach bones to each other. There is a certain amount of pressure that the ligaments are able to withstand. Sprains occur when a person gets involved in any event that causes the pressure to exceed.
With the intention of enlightening our readers about the consequences of sprains, The Health Capsule spoke to Dr. Himantha Athukorale, Consultant in Joint Disease, Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, who shared his valuable knowledge on how to deal with such dilemmas.
WHAT ARE SPRAINS?
Sprains are the over stretching of ligaments. Dr Athukorale explained that sprains involve ligaments that assist in the stabilization of the joints in the body. “When ligaments over stretch and exceed the normal limit, it results in a painful response which we call a sprain’” he explained.
Dr Athukorale further stated that most people tend to confuse sprains with strains. However, these two are completely different than each other with complications that differ to one another. It is quite important to understand the difference between the two for the proper identification of the crisis.
Dr Athukorale explained that ‘strains’ are the result of the over stretching of muscles and that it is very much different from a ‘sprain’. He mentioned that strains can further lead to muscle tears and that the injury is much severe than sprains with the requirement for surgeries.
Dislocation of bones is another possible injury that can be confused with sprains. However, it is entirely different from sprains as it involves the parting of two bones in a joint. Dr Athukorale stated that the appearance of a joint during dislocation is quite from a sprain. The joint swells up profusely when dislocated and there may also be fluid filled within the joint.
Dr Athukorale mentioned that there are various ways a sprain can occur. He said that certain joints have very high mobility and range of movement. Joints such as the ankle and wrist are highly mobile. However, they have a limited number of muscles stabilizing them.
“Joints need stability to avoid dislocation. When there is a small number of muscles surrounding a joint, in order to compensate, a lot of ligaments get involved in stabilizing,” Dr Athukorale explained.
He said that sprains occur due to high pressure or weight passing through a joint. “In an over weight person, naturally the ankles bear a high amount of weight. Therefore, if this person makes any quick or sudden action that involves a very high degree of joint movement or repetitive movement such as exercise, there is a high chance that the joint may undergo sprain”.
Dr Athukorale further stated that people with a very thin muscle bulk have a high risk of spraining. People exercising without proper knowledge and pre-training also face the risk of obtaining sprains.
In older people, the condition known as ‘Sarcopenia’ can also lead to joint instability and sprains. Sarcopenia is the gradually diminishing muscle bulk that occurs due to old age.
Being subjected to various joint injuries can also result in sprains. Twisting of a joint can cause sprains due to the unnatural direction of movement occurred, causing the ligaments to get stretched and pulled.
In conclusion, being overweight, doing exercises without any limit and performing sudden brisk movements that cause ligament injuries are the main causes that people need to be aware of.
The initial result of a sprain is the swelling and stiffness of the affected area along with severe pain and a bit of warmth. Dr Athukorale mentioned that the areas affected by sprains tend to become warmer in comparison to other joints. He further stated that the patients with sprains will become hesitant to move the joint.
Dr Athukorale explained that sprains will not give rise to long-term disastrous consequences. This is because everyone has the ability to heal the sprain by themselves.
TREATMENT AND PREVENTION
According to Dr Athukorale, a sprain can be spontaneously cured as it can self-healed with adequate rest and painkillers. It is always better to analyze the affected area through proper examination.
Placing ice or any cold item above the affected joint will help reduce the amount of swelling. Dr Athukorale advised patients to stay away from heavy weights for a few days to allow the sprain to heal. He said that in certain cases, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed for the patients to reduce the pain.
Dr Athukorale said that the affected joint is immobilized by braces or slings in very bad cases of sprains.
Proper aerobic exercise helps stabilize joints and prevent sprains by strengthening the muscles that surround the joints.
“I always advise youngsters who do a lot of exercises or go to gym sessions, to start with proper methods, gradually increasing the weights and avoiding too much pressure trying to get a lot of things done within the first few days,” Dr Athukorale said.
Reducing body weight is also quite helpful. It helps people to stay away from many health issues.
“People should be encouraged to do at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. Engaging in sports which do not involve too much action such as swimming and cycling and even walking helps to exercise and stabilize the weight bearing joints such as the knees and ankles,” Dr Athukorale stated.
He further stated that an adequate and proper diet with a lot of proteins is very important as proteins are essential for the strength and well-being of muscles.
While there is no way to avoid sarcopenia in the elderly people, Dr Athukorale advised them to use canes as a walking aid and to avoid sudden forces going through the joints.