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Sprains and Strains

Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains occur when the ligaments and muscles in the knee, ankle, or other joint are stretched too far. Symptoms range from mild to severe, and can include swelling, pain, and stiffness.

Sprains are a common injury caused by stretching or tearing of a ligament. A ligament is a band of tough, fibrous connective tissue that connects two bones at a joint. Sprains most commonly affect the ankle, knee, and wrist. Symptoms of a sprain include discomfort, swelling, and pain around the joint, difficulty moving the joint, bruising, and reduced range of motion.


Sprains can be classified according to the severity and type of injury. A Grade I sprain is a stretched and mildly damaged ligament. A Grade II sprain is more severe and involves partial tearing of the ligament. Grade III sprains involve a complete tear of the ligament.


The treatment for a sprain generally involves the RICE method, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If a Grade III sprain or other serious injury is suspected, medical attention should be sought. Treatment for a more severe sprain may include a cast, crutches, physical therapy, and sometimes even surgery.