A sprain is an injury or tear of the ligaments and strain is injury to the muscle or tendons. Sprains and strains are common in ankle, spine, knee, thigh, hip, elbow, and wrist joints.
Sprain is caused by trauma, overstretching of the joints during sports activities such as basketball and swimming. Strain is caused due to overuse of the muscles, inadequate rest during breaks while playing sports. Some sports such as gymnastics, basketball, football, hockey, and running causes the muscles and ligament tear.
The muscles injured during sports include hamstring and quadriceps muscles of the thigh, calf and knee muscles, and flexor muscles of the joints. The commonly observed symptom is pain and inflammation. In addition to these symptoms muscle spasm, muscle weakness, and cramping may be observed.
Immediately following an injury and before being evaluated by a medical doctor, you should initiate the R.I.C.E. method of treatment.
- Rest: Rest the knee as more damage could result from putting pressure on the injury.
- Ice: Ice packs applied to the injury will help diminish swelling and pain. Ice should be applied over a towel to the affected area for 15-20 minutes four times a day for several days. Never place ice directly over the skin.
- Compression: Wrapping the knee with an elastic bandage or compression stocking can help to minimize the swelling and support your knee.
- Elevation: Elevating the knee above heart level will also help with swelling and pain.
Your doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the pain and inflammation. Rehabilitation program is recommended for people injured by sports which help to regain strength and allow fast recovery. Rehabilitation program includes massages and various strengthening, stability, and stretching exercises which should be carried out on a regular basis.