Sprains and Strains

Get back on your feet again

At Dr. Megan Mullin Physical Therapy, we offer personalized treatment plans tailored to each patient’s specific needs and goals.

Our comprehensive approach includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), targeted exercises and stretches, manual therapy techniques, modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation, and education on injury prevention. With our effective treatments, patients can experience accelerated healing, pain relief, improved functionality, reduced risk of re-injury, and empowerment through education.

Learn more about Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains are common musculoskeletal injuries that can occur during various activities. At Dr. Megan Mullin Physical Therapy, we believe in educating our patients about these injuries to help them better understand their causes and how to prevent them. Learn more about sprains and strains below:

1. Causes of Sprains: Sprains occur when ligaments, the tough bands of tissue that connect bones to each other, are stretched or torn. This can happen due to sudden movements, falls, or twisting motions that exceed the normal range of motion of a joint. Common causes of sprains include:

  • Sudden falls or impacts
  • Twisting or turning movements
  • Overstretching of a joint during physical activity or sports

2. Causes of Strains: Strains involve the stretching or tearing of muscles or tendons, which connect muscles to bones. They can occur due to overuse, repetitive movements, or sudden forceful contractions of a muscle. Common causes of strains include:

  • Lifting heavy objects improperly
  • Repetitive movements during sports or physical activity
  • Sudden movements or impacts that strain the muscles

3. Difference between Sprains and Strains: While sprains and strains are often used interchangeably, it’s essential to understand the difference between the two:

  • Sprains: Sprains involve damage to ligaments, which connect bones to each other. They typically occur when a joint is forced beyond its normal range of motion, leading to stretching or tearing of the ligaments.
  • Strains: Strains involve damage to muscles or tendons, which connect muscles to bones. They usually occur due to overuse, repetitive movements, or sudden forceful contractions of a muscle, leading to stretching or tearing of the muscle fibers.

4. Risk Factors: Several factors can increase the risk of experiencing sprains and strains, including:

  • Participating in high-impact sports or activities
  • Poor conditioning or muscle weakness
  • Inadequate warm-up or stretching before physical activity
  • Previous history of sprains or strains
  • Environmental factors such as uneven terrain or slippery surfaces

Understanding the distinction between sprains and strains can help you identify and manage these injuries more effectively. If you’re experiencing pain, swelling, or limited mobility in a joint or muscle, it’s essential to seek medical attention for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

At Dr. Megan Mullin Physical Therapy, we understand the impact that sprains and strains can have on your daily life. Our dedicated team is committed to providing comprehensive and personalized care to help you recover from these injuries and get back to doing the things you love. Learn more about our approach to treating sprains and strains below:

1. Individualized Assessment: We begin by conducting a thorough assessment to evaluate the severity and extent of your sprain or strain. Our experienced physical therapists will assess your range of motion, strength, flexibility, and functional limitations to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and goals.

2. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE): For acute sprains and strains, we may initially recommend the RICE protocol to reduce pain and swelling and promote healing. This involves:

  • Rest: Avoiding activities that aggravate your injury to allow the affected tissues to heal.
  • Ice: Applying ice packs to the injured area to reduce inflammation and numb pain.
  • Compression: Wrapping the injured area with a compression bandage to provide support and reduce swelling.
  • Elevation: Elevating the injured limb above the level of your heart to reduce swelling and promote drainage of excess fluid.

3. Targeted Exercises and Stretches: We design customized therapeutic exercise programs to strengthen weakened muscles, improve flexibility, and restore functional movement patterns. These programs may include a combination of stretching exercises, strengthening exercises, and functional activities tailored to your specific injury and goals.

4. Electrical Stimulation: Electrical stimulation may be incorporated into your treatment plan to help reduce pain, improve muscle function, and promote tissue healing. This modality involves the use of electrical currents to stimulate the muscles and nerves, helping to alleviate discomfort and facilitate the recovery process.

5. Ultrasound: Ultrasound therapy utilizes high-frequency sound waves to penetrate deep into the tissues, promoting circulation, reducing inflammation, and accelerating the healing process. This non-invasive modality can help relieve pain and stiffness associated with sprains and strains and enhance the effectiveness of other treatment techniques.

6. Manual Therapy Techniques: Our treatment approach often incorporates hands-on manual therapy techniques to address soft tissue restrictions, improve joint mobility, and alleviate pain. Techniques such as joint mobilizations, soft tissue massage, and myofascial release can help restore normal movement patterns and promote tissue healing.

7. Heat Therapy: Heat therapy may be used to increase blood flow, relax muscles, and alleviate pain and stiffness associated with sprains and strains. This modality can help improve tissue elasticity, reduce muscle spasms, and promote relaxation, allowing for better tolerance of therapeutic exercises and manual therapy techniques.

8. Education and Prevention Strategies: We provide education on proper body mechanics, ergonomics, and injury prevention strategies to help you reduce the risk of future sprains and strains. By learning how to move safely and efficiently and identifying potential risk factors, you can minimize the likelihood of re-injury and maintain your musculoskeletal health.

9. Gradual Return to Activity: As you progress through your treatment plan, we’ll work with you to gradually reintroduce activities and exercises to help you regain strength, flexibility, and function. Our goal is to ensure a safe and sustainable return to your normal activities and hobbies without the risk of re-injury.

Ankle injuries are a common sprain or strain. Half of all ankle sprains occur during athletic activity, and more than 1 million people visit emergency rooms each year due to ankle injuries. While they can happen to anyone at any age, men between 15 and 24 years old have higher rates of ankle sprains, and women older than age 30 have higher rates than men. 

Sprains and strains can be painful and limiting, affecting your ability to perform everyday activities and enjoy life to the fullest. At Dr. Megan Mullin Physical Therapy, we offer comprehensive and effective treatment options to help you recover from these injuries and regain function. Discover the numerous benefits of choosing our physical therapy treatments for sprains and strains below:

1. Accelerated Healing: Our physical therapy treatments are designed to promote healing and accelerate the recovery process for sprains and strains. Through targeted exercises, manual therapy techniques, and modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation, we can enhance blood flow to the injured area, reduce inflammation, and facilitate tissue repair, leading to faster recovery times.

2. Pain Relief: One of the primary goals of our physical therapy treatments is to alleviate pain associated with sprains and strains. Our skilled therapists will utilize a variety of techniques, including hands-on manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, and modalities such as heat and ice therapy, to help reduce pain and discomfort, allowing you to move more comfortably and resume normal activities sooner.

3. Improved Functionality: Sprains and strains can result in decreased range of motion and functional limitations. Our physical therapy treatments focus on restoring optimal functionality to the affected area through targeted exercises and stretches aimed at improving strength, flexibility, and mobility. By addressing underlying imbalances and weaknesses, we can help you regain the ability to perform daily activities with greater ease and confidence.

4. Reduced Risk of Re-Injury: By addressing the root cause of your sprain or strain and implementing preventive strategies, our physical therapy treatments can help reduce the risk of re-injury in the future. We’ll educate you about proper body mechanics, ergonomics, and injury prevention techniques to empower you to take control of your musculoskeletal health and minimize the likelihood of experiencing recurring injuries.

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Take the Next Step

If you’re dealing with a sprain or strain, don’t let it hold you back from living your life to the fullest. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Megan Mullin Physical Therapy today and experience our effective approach to treating sprains and strains. Our experienced team is here to provide you with compassionate care, personalized treatment, and support every step of the way. Let us help you recover and get back to doing what you love.