It’s Winter. Watch out for sprains!
Perhaps you’ve once had a sprain, or you’ve probably heard of this type of injury before. But do you know how they occur and what body structures they affect? More importantly, do you know how to deal with them or, better yet, prevent them? To help you understand this type of injury, we’ve prepared the following article.
What is a sprain?
Sprains most commonly occur in the ankles, but they can affect any joint in the body. To understand this phenomenon, it is necessary to first understand the role of ligaments in the joints.
Ligaments are bands of fibrous connective tissue. They play an important role in joint mobility because they connect the bones together within the same joint and prevent wrong moves by stabilizing them. When a sprain occurs, there is stretching or tearing of the ligament in the affected joint. A sprain can also occur if there is tearing of muscle fibres.
For example, ankles, wrists, knees, lumbar (lower back) and shoulder muscles, to name a few, can all be sprained. The severity is determined by the degree of damage to the ligament.
Degrees of sprain
Falls, sports injuries, wrong moves, fatigue due to repetitive movements… These are some of the causes of sprains. Here is a short guide to recognize sprains based on their symptoms and severity:
- Mild sprain: This type of sprain occurs when there is a slight stretching of the ligament. Joint function is not compromised, but some pain may be felt when it is used. Slight swelling may occur after several hours or even the next day.
- Moderate sprain: A moderate sprain occurs when there is further stretching of the ligament, which may be accompanied by a partial ligament tear. Swelling of the affected joint usually occurs within a few hours. Bruising is possible.
- Severe sprain: In the case of a severe sprain, there is a complete ligament rupture. Joint mobility is directly affected, and severe pain occurs when it is used. Swelling of the joint occurs almost immediately after the injury, which can be felt as a real tearing sensation. Also, bruising appears rapidly in most cases. If there is a severe sprain, it is impossible to put weight on the joint (this applies especially to knee and ankle sprains).
Healing a sprain
A few golden rules for healing sprains, regardless of severity.
- Resting the joint: Avoid using the joint in the days following the injury to allow it to heal.
- Applying ice: Apply ice, using a towel to protect the skin, for a maximum of 15 minutes every hour to reduce swelling and pain.
- Compressing the joint: Applying a bandage to the joint can help reduce swelling. However, it is important not to tighten it too much so as not to restrict blood flow.
- Elevating the joint: Drain fluid from the joint to help reduce swelling.
At all times, it is essential to follow the directions of your healthcare professional. In doubt, do not hesitate to consult for specific advice on your situation.
Preventing sprains: building on ligament strength
Regular physical activity strengthens the joints and their ligaments, reducing the risk of sprains and strains. But beware! Be sure to warm up before your workout and stretch at the end of your session to reduce the risk of injury!
Ligament injuries can also be prevented by promoting ligament health and strength. Since they are composed of 80% collagen, it goes without saying that taking supplements may be indicated, especially as we age, since the body’s natural production of collagen decreases from the age of 30, and this decrease becomes more pronounced from the age of 50. Genacol products contain AminoLock Collagen, which has a low molecular weight, thus facilitating its absorption by the body. Taking Genacol supplements supports ligaments health, thus reducing the risk of sprains and other joint injuries!