PHYSCIAL THERAPY FOR SPRAINS/STRAINS

Sprains and strains are very similar injuries, and they can be caused by the same kinds of movements: falls, twists, and general overuse.  Sprains are an injury of the ligament, where the ligament is stretch of torn.  Strains are an injury of the muscle or tendon where the muscle or tendon is stretched or torn.  Both sprains and strains can be painful and can cause significant swelling.  Your physical therapist will likely suggest that you use proper bracing and compressing in order to keep swelling to a minimum and to aid in the healing process.  The treatment plans for these injuries slightly differ, but both will minimize swelling while promoting function. 

Treatment for sprains: (varies depending on degree of sprain) the goal is to minimize swelling and pain while promoting function

  • Therapeutic exercise: strengthens and stretches the muscles surrounding the affected joint

  • Manual therapy: your physical therapist will perform joint mobilization techniques to increase range of motion and mobility

  • Heat, ice, and electrical stimulation

Treatment for strains: (varies depending on degree of strain) the goal is to heal injured muscle through movement while preventing scar tissue build up

  • Therapeutic exercise: strengthens and stretches the strained and surrounding tissues

  • Manual therapy: your physical therapist will use a soft tissue mobilization technique to break fibrous tissue, adhesions, and scar tissue that may be limiting your movement

  • Heat and ice are necessary to control swelling and pain

 

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