Have you suffered an injury while playing a sport? Do you have symptoms such as pain and swelling in the affected area? If so, it is probably because you have suffered a sprain . This injury, also known as a sprain, occurs when the ligaments or fibrous tissue that join the joints are torn without breaking in areas such as the ankle, wrists, knee and/or thumbs. In addition to having constant pain in the affected area, a sprain is characterized by other symptoms such as swelling, bruising, and a very limited ability to move the joint where the damaged ligaments are located.
Causes and symptoms of a sprain
A sprain is an injury that occurs when the ligaments that surround the joints of the ankle, knee or wrist are stretched too much until they end up being damaged. The causes may be one or the other depending on the place where we have suffered the sprain:
- Ankle : it is the most frequent sprain of all. It is usually caused by frequent walking or running on uneven surfaces.
- Wrist: in this case, the cause is usually due to supporting a hand to cushion a fall.
- Knee : This sprain is mainly caused by a bad turn during a sports activity.
- Thumb: It is caused by excessively stretching this finger during sports such as tennis.
Other factors that increase the risk of suffering this injury also have an influence, such as insufficient physical conditioning, lack of warm-up before starting to exercise, poor quality footwear or other sports equipment, and frequently practicing sports in unsuitable areas such as slippery surfaces. .
Regardless of the area where you have suffered the sprain, the main symptoms that appear with this injury are the following:
- Constant pain in the affected area.
- Appearance of bruises in the event that the sprain was caused by a blow.
- Difficulty and very limited ability to move in the affected joints.
- Clicking in the joint when the sprain occurs.
Types of sprains according to their severity
There are different types of sprains depending on the severity of this injury. Next, we explain what types of sprains we can suffer:
- First degree sprain : In this type there is a strain or sprain in the ligaments. The sprain usually produces mild pain and minimal swelling in the affected area.
- Second-degree sprain: in this case, the ligaments can be partially torn, immediately producing much more intense pain and swelling in the joints than in the previous case.
- Third degree sprain: it is the most serious sprain of all, producing a total rupture of the ligaments of a certain joint.
How long does it take to heal a sprain – here's the answer
If you have recently suffered this injury, it is normal for you to wonder how long it takes to heal a sprain. However, there is no set number of days, as the time it takes for your ligaments to recover will depend on the following three factors:
Recovery based on severity
As we have explained before, a sprain can be of one type or another depending on the severity of the injury. In the event that your injury is first or second degree , the period it will take to heal from a sprain is between 3 and 6 weeks.
However, if your sprain is in third degree injuries , it could take more than 8 weeks to recover and even much longer if surgery is finally required.
Cure Depends on Treatments
Generally, when it comes to a minor sprain (i.e., first or second degree), the treatment that doctors usually recommend is to rest at home for a few days, use ice packs to reduce swelling, compress the area with elastic bands and assign some pain-relieving drugs to the affected area.
However, if you do not follow the treatments recommended by the specialist, the sprain will surely take much longer to heal completely.
Suffer other associated injuries
Another factor that could influence healing time is if there were other injuries associated with the sprain at the time you suffered the sprain. Among these injuries, we find:
- Bone fracture (such as the fibula or talus).
- Peroneal tendon subluxation.
- osteochondral lesions.
- Chronic torn ligaments.