Houston Treatment for Fractures, Sprains & Strains
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When a part of the body is twisted or struck with force, sometimes fractures, sprains, and strains occur, and some injuries will involve all three.
For a better understanding, here are the definitions of these injuries:
- Sprain: A stretch or tear in a ligament (bands of fibrous tissue that connect bones at the joints). Sprains commonly occur when a person falls, twists, or suffers an impact which forces the body out of its normal position. Sprained ankles are the most common, and about 25,000 of these happen every day.
- Strain: Also a stretch or tear, but affecting the muscle or tendon (the tissue that connects muscles to bones). Strains often occur when muscles or tendons are twisted. Athletes who engage in contact sports are at high risk for strains, as are those who do sports that involve repetitive motion, like tennis and rowing.
- Fracture: A broken bone.
Sprains and strains are the most common injury in athletes, but can also happen at home, or in the workplace. Symptoms of strains and sprains very similar: pain, inflammation, and sometimes bruising in the area of the injury.
Using the RICE Method for Mild Injury
Pain will vary according to the severity of the injury, and a mild sprain or strain can usually be treated at home with RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation:
- Rest: No weight on the injured area for 24 to 48 hours, in order to prevent any further damage. If it’s impossible to put any weight on the injured area, or use an injured limb (such as a hand or elbow), see a doctor.
- Ice: A cold compress will reduce swelling. Apply an ice pack to the injured area for about 10 minutes, then remove it for 20 to 30 minutes. The ice pack shouldn’t be applied directly to the skin, so wrap the ice pack in a towel or other covering.
- Compression: Like ice, compression can help reduce swelling. Wrap the injured limb in an elastic bandage, or use a compression sleeve, which can be purchased at drug stores.
- Elevation: Elevating the injured limb above the level of your heart will prevent fluid from collecting around the injured area and prevent further swelling.
A RICE strategy can help minimize pain and protect the injured area from further damage. RICE is most critical during the first 24 to 72 hours after an injury. Anti-inflammatory medications like Motrin or Aleve can be used to reduce pain and swelling, but sometimes stronger medications need to be prescribed to control the pain. The application of a splint and a compression bandage also provides significant relief of pain by keeping the injured area immobilized.
Understanding Injury Severity
More severe injuries will require a doctor’s attention. Typically, an X-ray will be taken to check for fractures, and additional tests – such as an MRI or CT scan may be ordered to determine the severity of the injury.
Sprains, the stretch or tear to a ligament, are graded on a scale of I to III:
- Grade I: Stretching of the ligament, or a very mild tear, with no instability of the joint
- Grade II: More serious, but still an incomplete tear
- Grade III: Completely torn or ruptured ligament; even if there’s no fracture present in the bone, this injury will feel like a broken bone because it will be impossible to put weight on the joint or use the affected limb.
Severe sprains may still require a cast, and surgery may be necessary to repair torn ligaments and/or bones.
Fractures will require medical attention, so if you suspect a broken bone, you should see a doctor right away. A minor fracture that may not require urgent treatment would be a fracture of the tip of the toe. Other, more serious fractures should be checked out by a doctor. X-rays will be ordered to view the type of fracture and determine whether bones need to be realigned in order to heal properly.
In the event of a possible fracture, the injured limb should be handled carefully before you get medical treatment. A broken arm or leg should be stabilized in a split, using wood, metal, plastic, or any rigid material, padded with gauze, then wrapped with more gauze to secure it.
A little knowledge can go a long way in preventing further damage if you suffer an injury. When in doubt, use caution, apply a good RICE strategy, and seek medical attention right away.
Gemini Urgent Care, located in the heart of Clear Lake City, Texas, has X-ray and CT capability to diagnose fractures, and our medical staff is very experienced in treating all types of injuries. If you suffer a painful injury, we can see you immediately and have you feeling better and on your way home usually in less than an hour.
We are here to provide immediate care. Call us at (281) 572-5505 today if you are in need of treatment for fractures, sprains or strains in Houston.
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