Joints are a complex and common part of our body that are made up of many smaller parts that combine to give us different variations of movement as shown in the Anatomy of the Joint page. Injury to the joint can hinder that movement and cause us a great deal of pain and discomfort.
A sprain is typically defined as an injury to a ligament. A ligament is a thick, tough, fibrous tissue that connects bones together. Commonly injured ligaments are in the ankle, knee, and wrist. The ligaments can be injured by being stretched too far from their normal position. The purpose of having ligaments is to hold your skeleton together in a normal alignment, ligaments prevent abnormal movements. However, when too much force is applied to a ligament, such as in a fall, the ligaments can be stretched or torn this injury is called a sprain.
Minor joint injuries are very common and most of us suffer from them on a fairly regular basis, minor sprains like twisting your ankle from walking on uneven ground can cause a great deal of instant pain, however in a lot of cases with this type of sprain the pain subsides within minutes and we are back to normal.
However, caution and prevention should be taken even with minor sprains. Repetitive sprains or improper use of the same joint can lead to a weakend state causing the joint to become susceptible to more major sprains, as well an increase in healing time when injured and other conditions caused by repetitave strain such as bursitis.
Moderate to Major Sprains
Less common then minor sprains however still quit common especially if you are an active person or susceptible due to other conditions is a moderate to major level of sprain. These types of injuries are sometimes accompanied by a great deal of inflammation and pain, in some situation load bearing on the joint is impossible and if the injury is to a joint such as the hip, knee or ankle walking is difficult at best and sometimes requires the aid of cruches or a wheel chair.
This level of sprain should not be ignored, if left to heal without proper treatment you are leaving that joint much more susceptible to re-occuring more intense level of sprain and ultimately the possiblity of chronic pain caused by one of many complication from an untreated joint injury such as a form of arthritis called Osteoarthritis.
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