Physiotherapy

Ligament Sprains

A sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments — the tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones together in your joints. The most common location for a sprain is in your ankle.

The difference between a sprain and a strain is that a sprain injures the bands of tissue that connect two bones together, while a strain involves an injury to a muscle or to the band of tissue that attaches a muscle to a bone.

Ligament Sprains Causes, Symptoms & Risk Factors

Symptoms 

Signs and symptoms will vary, depending on the severity of the injury, and may include:

  • Pain

  • Swelling

  • Bruising

  • Limited ability to move the affected joint

  • Hearing or feeling a "pop" in your joint at the time of injury

Causes

A sprain occurs when you overextend or tear a ligament while severely stressing a joint. Sprains often occur in the following circumstances:

  • Ankle — Walking or exercising on an uneven surface, landing awkwardly from a jump

  • Knee — Pivoting during an athletic activity

  • Wrist — Landing on an outstretched hand during a fall

  • Thumb — Skiing injury or overextension when playing racquet sports, such as tennis

Children have areas of softer tissue, called growth plates, near the ends of their bones. The ligaments around a joint are often stronger than these growth plates, so children are more likely to experience a fracture than a sprain.

Risk Factors

Factors contributing to sprains include:

  • Environmental conditions. Slippery or uneven surfaces can make you more prone to injury.

  • Fatigue. Tired muscles are less likely to provide good support for your joints. When you're tired, you're also more likely to succumb to forces that could stress a joint.

  • Poor equipment. Ill-fitting or poorly maintained footwear or other sporting equipment can contribute to your risk of a sprain.

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