Sprains & Strains, Fractures & Dislocations
Sprains and Strains
A sprain is a common type of injury that involves a stretching or tearing of ligaments, the structures that connect bones together within a joint. Patients with a sprain may experience different symptoms depending on the location and severity of the injury, including pain, swelling, bruising, tenderness, a feeling of something popping in the joint and warmness under the skin. A sprain will be graded on a scale of one to three based on its severity. Grade 1 sprains are mild and involve only a stretching of the ligaments, while Grade 3 sprains involve a complete tear in the ligament and usually require prompt treatment. Many sprains can be treated through immobilization with a splint to protect damaged ligaments.
A strain is the result of a stretching of the muscles beyond their capacity or a direct blow to the area. Patients with this type of injury may experience pain and tenderness in the area, as well as stiffness, weakness, bruising and a popping sensation. Treatment for muscle strains can usually be done at home through rest, ice, compression garments and elevation of the affected area. Anti-inflammatory medications can also be helpful in relieving pain. After the muscle heals, many patients benefit from a customized rehabilitation program to restore strength and flexibility to the area.
A fracture is a break or crack in a bone that occurs when the bone cannot withstand outside forces, often as a result of trauma or disease. Fracture, break and crack all refer to the same thing. Fractures can range from a small crack in the bone to complete separation. They are often caused by a fall, motor vehicle accident or sports injury. Normal activities can also cause fractures for people at a higher risk, including those with low bone density (osteoporosis), bone tumors, cancer or brittle bone disease (osteogenesis imperfecta).
Some of the different types of fractures include:
- Stress Fracture - A stress fracture occurs as a result of overuse. Because of repeated use, the bone becomes weak and cannot absorb the shock that is put on it. It is common in the lower leg or foot and especially among athletes.
- Compression Fracture - A compression fracture occurs as a result of old age. People with osteoporosis are at high risk for this type of fracture because their bones lose calcium. The weakened bones, usually in the spine, can crumple under the force of gravity.
- Incomplete (Greenstick) Fracture - A greenstick fracture occurs when the bone bends but does not completely break. This occurs most often in children, who have high levels of calcium in their bones.
- Comminuted Fracture - This occurs when the bone cracks into several fragments. It occurs as a result of high impact trauma or osteoporosis.
A bone fracture causes pain, swelling and sometimes bruising of the affected area. Applied weight or pressure causes even more severe pain. They are usually easy to diagnose, but treatment requires precision and care by experienced professionals.
When a bone breaks, there is a chance that a small piece will displace itself a significant distance away from its original position. As the severity of the fracture increases, so does the risk of dislocation. Close proximity to a joint is also correlated with high incidence of dislocated fractures.
In some cases, the dislocated section may become lodged in another functioning area of the joint thus necessitating surgical removal. These types of complex fractures also have a much longer recovery time and higher risk of permanent stiffness or disability than uncomplicated fractures or dislocations.
Contact us at 727.372.3888 or 352.684.3288 to learn more about Sprains & Strains, Fractures & Dislocations services or to make an appointment.