First Aid For Sprains and Strains

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When you have a strain or sprain you are damaging the soft tissue. These types of injuries can be acute or chronic. And they can take anywhere from two to twelve weeks to heal. The healing time is based on the type of injury, the treatment being used, and the overall general health of the person.

The Causes of Sprains and Strains

When you have a strain or sprain you are damaging the soft tissue. These types of injuries can be acute or chronic.
When you have a strain or sprain you are damaging the soft tissue. These types of injuries can be acute or chronic.

When you utilize your muscles and tendons, they are stretching and snapping back. The soft tissue is comprised of fibers while the muscles and tendons themselves contain cells that are meant to monitor the contractions of these. However, sudden movements or injuries are going to irritate this as the tissue cannot tolerate this. The fibers are going to stretch and tear, and often the blood vessel break, resulting in the swelling in the area.

When an injury is sudden, this is often called an acute soft tissue injury. It has usually occurred within 24 to 72 hours. When the injury becomes worse with every day, then this is referred to as a chronic soft tissue injury. These types of injuries are often caused by overuse or changing in the tissue stress.


Ligaments join the joints together and help to support these. Synovial fluid membranes enclose the entire joint to not only nourish the joint but to provide extra cushioning for joints in the event of an impact. A sprain occurs when there are small tears in the ligament and joint capsule. The common places for sprains include the thumb, wrist and ankle.


Tendons connect muscles to the joint. When the tendons become injured or the muscle becomes injured, this is referred to as a strain. The common places for strains are in the groin, hamstring or calf muscle.

Strain and Sprain Symptoms

When a person suffers from a strain or sprain, they may have symptoms that include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • They may not be able to move the area as before

Severity Degrees of a Strain or Sprain

When soft tissue injuries occur, they are graded according to how severe that they are. The following are the grades and conditions that must be met:

  • Grade I – some of the fibers are torn, the site is painful and swollen, but the person can still move and function as they should.
  • Grade II – several fibers are torn, with moderate pain and swelling. There is loss of some strength and function
  • Grade III – The tissue is completely torn, with loss of function and strength. These types of injuries often require surgery to repair.

Strains and Sprains First Aid

If you believe a strain or sprain has occurred, here are some first aid treatments to immediately use:

  • Stop an activity
  • Rest the area that is injured
  • Utilize an ice pack every two hours, applied at 15-minute intervals
  • Use a compression bandage on the area, wrapping this firmly
  • Elevate the injured area if possible
  • If you have symptoms or they get worse within 24 hours, seek medical treatment.

 Related Video On Strains and Sprains


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