Treating sprains, strains and tears / Understanding muscle injuries


Treating sprains, strains and tears

Posted by Mark Hosko, MD in Health Information 24 Jul 2013

Summer has arrived and the residents of the East Portland neighborhoods are taking full advantage of it, from outdoor fitness activities such as jogging and cycling to organized sports to hiking in the beautiful natural surroundings outside the city.  After a sedentary winter, many people are experiencing the consequences of their outdoor activities in the form of muscle cramps, sprains and strains.


Sprains and strains are frequently used to describe the same types of injuries, although there are small differences between the two.  A sprain refers to a stretching or tearing of a ligament that connects bones together at our joints, such as the knee, wrist or ankle.  Ankle sprains are the most common.  On average, about 25,000 people sprain their ankle every day.


Strains also involve a stretching or tearing, but this time the affected area is the muscle or a connecting tendon.  When a muscle or tendon is twisted or pulled abruptly, which can happen in many contact sports, or when a particular motion is repeated, such as swinging a golf club or tennis racket, a strain may occur.  Strains are also common workplace injuries, usually resulting from heavy lifting.


Most strained muscles or sprained joints will heal in time with the use of RICE therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation).  A more severe tear or rupture will most likely require surgery.  Here at Portland Urgent Care, we can evaluate the injury and take the necessary X-rays to determine how serious the injury is and what further treatment may be needed.

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