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Sprains and strains are often used interchangeably. While very common for a first responder to encounter, they are not the same thing.

Sprain

A sprain is a stretch or tear in a ligament. Ligaments are bands of fibrous tissue that connect bones to bones at joints.

Excessive force applied to a joint can cause these ligaments to tear – this is a sprain. Usually when a person falls, twists, or is hit in a way that forces the body out of its normal position.

The most common type of sprain is a sprained ankle. About 25,000 people sprain an ankle every day.

Strain

A strain is also a stretch or tear, but it happens in a muscle or a tendon. Tendons link muscles to the bones. This is very common in contact sports like football, boxing and hockey.

Treatment of sprains and strains

Although there is a difference between sprains and strains the first aid treatment of both is the same.

This is known as RICE therapy.

-Rest

-Ice

-Comfortable support / Compression

-Elevation

This simple first aid treatment will relieve swelling and subsequently relieve the pain from these injuries.

Always seek medical attention if the pain and swelling don’t start to lessens after 24 to 72 hours.

 

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