Athletes are at high risk for developing injuries – especially those pertaining to the muscles and connective tissues. Sprains are diagnosed in patients who have stretched or torn a ligament, whereas strains are identified by a stretch or tear in a tendon or muscle. Sprains and strains may occur suddenly, or they may develop gradually over time. It is important to seek urgent care for sports injuries to help reduce pain and accelerate healing.
Did you know…
some sprains and strains – such as those caused by falling on a foot or twisting a knee – are accidental and difficult to prevent. Others – such as those caused by lifting heavy objects the wrong way – can be prevented with proper training. The National Institutes of Health recommend stretching prior to physical activity, as well as wearing protective equipment during play to prevent sports injuries. It is also important to avoid overuse injuries by taking the time to rest tired and sore muscles.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I need treatment for a sports injury?
You may have a sprain or strain in need of urgent care if you notice a joint or muscle is swollen, painful, weak, or bruised. By having your injury medically evaluated, you can rule out any other more serious injuries and determine the best course of treatment.
What should I expect the urgent care center to do about my sprain or strain?
Your treatment will be contingent on the extent of your injury. In many cases, the injury requires compression using a bandage or cast. You may also be given crutches if your injury involves your knee or ankle. Some sports injuries require physical therapy to help reduce joint or muscle stiffness and restore full range of motion.
How long will my recovery be?
It may take a few weeks before your sprain or strain has fully healed. During the initial healing phase, you may be instructed to rest the injury and ice it several times a day. Over the counter pain medications may help with discomfort. As the injury begins to heal, you may be instructed to gradually resume activity, carefully exercising the joint or muscle without straining it. Be careful not to do too much too soon, as doing so could prolong your recovery.