A sprain is when a force pushes the bones of a joint apart. If the force is strong enough, the ligament comes apart. This can happen from things like:
- A sudden change in direction
- An impact with an object or another person
- A misstep that causes a sudden stretching
Problems may be:
- Pain and tenderness, especially putting weight on the joint
- Swelling and bruising
- Problems moving
- A popping sound
Treatment will depend on the joint and how severe the injury is. The goal of treatment is to ease pain and improve movement. Choices are:
- Supportive care, such as rest, ice, a compression bandage, and raising the area to ease pain and swelling
- Medicine, such as over the counter and prescription pain relievers
- Devices that keep the area still as it heals
- Physical therapy to strengthen the area and improve movement
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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