A sprain is stressing of the ligaments or an injury to one or more ligaments. A ligament can be defined as an elastic fibrous tissue that joins one bone to the other which can be found in the joints such as the elbows, ankles, wrists and fingers. Ligaments are the strong, flexible fibers that adhere bones together inside a joint. Most people often wrongly define it as tendons (which are the elastic tissue holding muscle with bone). Sprains do occur when a person fall on an outstretched limb, or unintentionally twist a joint leading to tearing and stretching of the ligaments, thereby causing some bruising, discomfort and lack of movement.

Grades of Sprains

ankle sprainNot all sprains are equal. Sprains are generally classified into three grades depending on severity of injury ranging from the least severe (First grade sprain) to the most severe (The third grade sprain.).

Grade 1 Sprain

These are a minor over stretching, although not thoroughly injured, of a ligament without having joint lack of stability. Slight pain and minimal without having functional disability is what people who have grade 1 sprains experience. These sprains are not likely to bring about long-term problems.

Grade 2 Sprain

When the sprain is moderately damaged to the soft tissue of the joint. It will have definite discomfort with little blood vessels damaged (bruise) and the blood belonging to the injured blood vessels fill the adjacent tissue (puffiness). Minimal functional disability will be experienced by anyone with a second grade sprain and unable to set weight on the afflicted joint. In a grade two sprain, the suspensory ligaments are extended to the point of ripping, but only partially. It actually takes two to four weeks to recover from such injury. Sprains weaken the ligaments, it is advisable to endure until the joint fully recuperates before returning to routine activities. Physiotherapy can take over after the RICE method has taken care of the injury for days.

Grade 3 Sprain

This is the total tearing of the connective tissues of the joint, resulting in serious pain, discoloration and swelling. The injured person will not be able to apply pressure on the damaged joint resulting to serious chronic problem that damage joint. This category of sprain is the result of more substantial injury with the degree of sprain signifying a sizeable rip or a total tearing of one or more ligaments completely losing the purpose of the damaged joint with the pain being too much to handle.


This occurs when an individual’s ankle is turned over because of a rough surface which makes the sole to change inwards leading to tearing and expansion of ligaments around the ankle. It also occurs when a ligament is injured because of a sudden twist of the foot. This commonly occurs in athletes causing soft tissue wound which can cause a lot of discomfort. Prompt and proper treatment is required to this injury to reduce discomfort and inflammation will reduce and that will help you to recover quickly.

Sprained ankle can be treated with the use of a medication, therapy which can be done at home, and massage.


The wrist can be forced past the natural stretching limit of a tendon or ligament causing the forced twist or torque of the ligament to have an injury in the wrist resulting in mild to severe pain, bruising, swelling, and possible loss of function. These sprained wrist symptoms can begin from a simple slip on the stair, or playing a sports game, or on an icy walkway, exerting intense pressure or by the wrist twisting in an abnormal position. Like the sprain grades, sprained wrist can be categorized into three from the mild to moderate to acute depending on the severity. Like the sprained ankle, sprained wrist can be treated with the use of a medication, therapy which can he done at home, and massage.


Sprain and sportsSports and daily physical activity contributes to this injury but no one wants to experience such an injury. There are methods to prevent such an injury and ensure that when one plays sports or are involved in a physical activity, one try to limit chances of getting injured. One of the most productive exercises that one can perform to prevent a sprained knee is to make sure one stretches before engaging in sports or physical activity. Flexibility of the legs and knees is achieved by stretching the legs and body enables one to get accustomed to certain positions which will help in avoiding injuries especially when the knee is subjected to certain unconventional positions. It is also important to have proper footwear and attire for certain activities such as football and soccer when playing sports. These shoes and attire assist in ensuring you have strong placement of your feet in the turf or grass that you are playing in thereby preventing injuries by ensuring that the footwear is designed to handle the terrain of the environment that you are playing in.

A big contributing factor to a sprained knee is the body weight of a person. One must ensure that the body weight on the knees does not bear a heavy load. Body weight causes more stress to the ligaments as well as the menisci of one’s knee, thereby can be contributing factor to a sprained knee. It is advised that a person maintain a healthy weight to ensure that the knee retains strong health and minimizes the possibility of knee injury.

A knee sprain usually does not involve permanent damage, however if it is twisted in such a degree that is beyond the natural movement it can cause further damage to the knee. Generally speaking a knee sprain is when certain ligaments or a particular ligament of your knee is twisted and or stretched beyond the normal capacity. In certain cases a knee sprain may even involve a ligament that can be torn.

The most common form of remedy for such an injury include the common treatments of rest, ice and elevation. The resting will allow the sprain of the knee to not sustain further damage of the ligaments and also allows for reduction for any swelling and help the individual recover from the sprain in a timely fashion. Icing of the sprained knee will also help the individual with any pain that they are experiencing. It has been discovered that ice not only assists with swelling reduction, but can also help decrease any pain the individual is experiencing. Icing the sprained knee is critical to ensure that the sprain will recover to proper form before the injury occurred. It is also imperative to elevate the sprained knee so that there is a continuous flow of blood that is supplied to the injury and its surrounding ligaments. Elevation can be used to assist the person in recovering fast and returning to the normal or sports related activities.


The thumb is used for gripping, grasping, picking things up and holding items making it one of those areas e;f the body that is used continuously in everyday life. It is virtually impossible to perform any task with your hand when the thumb is injured.

When a strain occurs in the thumb, a ligament is typically torn which means that when the thumb is strained, it is the ulnar collateral ligament that is strained that causes an important disability in one’s ability to pinch or grasp. The most common causes of a sprained thumb are due to falling injuries, thumb injury occurring while skiing which is known as ‘skier’s thumb.’ Symptoms of a sprained thumb vary depending on the nature and severity of the sprain, experiencing weakness in the ability to grip and hold items between the index finger and thumb. There will also be pain and swelling around the base of the thumb when it is sprained.

The RICE Method

The RICE method is fast, simple, and needs to be done immediately after a sports injury. It is a basic group of procedures to help a range of injuries, including sprains, bony injury, and bruises. It can be helpful as either first-aid as well as a type of ongoing treatment solution.

The full meaning of RICE is Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. The process has to be employed for a minimum of 48 hours following the primary sprain, or for a longer time in accordance with the degree of the sprain. Make sure you realize that the RICE method is not a substitute for medical care.

Steps are as follows:


This means to stop moving the sprained joint. This is both the most straightforward and difficult phase. This is particularly correct for sports athletes, who’re already extra prone to joint injuries. It is similarly challenging if it is a joint that’s constantly active, for instance in an ankle sprain. Whilst this may help you become more impressive than others, it’s definitely not supporting the sprain.


Sprain and Icing in the RICE method

Use ice, a cold pack, soaked in ice water on to the injury as fast as possible. If applying actual ice, be sure they are in a plastic bag because ice cubes might result in cold damage to the skin. It is also important to remove the ice after 15 or 20 minutes and let the injury return to a normal temperature once again for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Carry out this on-off routine as frequently as you’re able, at least 3 times per day.


Wrap the damaged body part with an elastic wrap. Wrap the sprain as rightly and securely as you can, but be sure not to block blood circulation. To keep circulation moving correctly, wrap the injured joint looser on the part of the joint nearest to the heart as this will allow blood out of the sprained joint to maintain adequate blood flow. As soon as the damaged joint has been adequately supported you ought to attach
the wrap to ensure that it won’t undo in time.


Have the damaged joint higher than the height of the heart. If it’s a foot sprained, recline and put the sprained foot a cushion. In cases where you’ve got a thumb sprain, lie down and prop up the hand. It is going to be very useful to do this as not all sprains are simple to raise.

The main purpose of the RICE method is to avoid inflammation. When a joint is damaged, the surrounding tissues are impaired, causing some blood vessels to be ruptured and some increase of fluid as the body makes an effort to protect against more severe injury. Unfortunately, that same liquid build up, brings about the discomfort and loss of mobility of a sprain. The swelling might also increase the healing time for sprains. It is better to stick to the RICE method for the shortest, least painful recovery from sprain.