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stretching or wrenching of the ligaments and tendons of a joint, often with rupture of the tissues but without dislocation. Sprains occur most commonly at the ankle, knee, or wrist joints, causing pain, swelling, and difficulty in moving the involved joint. Treatment consists of application of ice bags or cold compresses, elevation of the injured part, and strapping or bandaging to substitute for the support usually given by the ligaments. A severe ankle sprain may require a cast to immobilize the joint for healing. See first aidfirst aid,
immediate and temporary treatment of a victim of sudden illness or injury while awaiting the arrival of medical aid. Proper early measures may be instrumental in saving life and ensuring a better and more rapid recovery.
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an injury of such soft tissues as muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves, caused by the impact of a force that stretches them but does not disrupt their anatomic integrity. Sprains occur when abrupt movements exceed a joint’s normal range of movement, as when a foot is twisted or when an athlete throws an object.

Sprains are most common in the ligaments of the ankle and knee joints. The sprain is not caused by stretching of the ligament, which is tissue with a very small reserve of elasticity. Rather, the cause is rupture of some of the ligament’s fibers and hemorrhage within the tissues. The degree of sprain varies from slight soreness lasting one to two days to severe sprain bordering on rupture of the ligament, with edema, hemorrhage, and soreness continuing for two to three weeks. In sprain, the joint’s movements are limited. Sprains of nerve trunks, which sometimes accompany dislocations of the joints, temporarily disrupt the nerve’s conductivity and consequently cause loss of motor and sensory functions. With all types and degrees of sprain, X rays are used to ascertain whether a bone has been fractured.

In the case of slight sprains, the area is bandaged tightly and the patient rests for one to three days. In severe cases, a plaster cast is used to immobilize the joint for three weeks. Subsequent treatment consists of physiotherapy and therapeutic exercise.



A wrenching of a joint, producing a stretching or laceration of the ligaments.


a sudden twisting or wrenching of the ligaments of a joint