Symptoms, Cause and Signs of a Sprain

By Walkrite Foot Clinic October 19, 2018

A sprain which is also called as a torn ligament appears to take place when the ligaments in a joint are damaged and is caused by the restless functioning of a bone or can also be caused by a trauma. The severity ranges from a minor injury to a major one where the person requires surgical fixation because of a major rupture of the ligaments. This would also require a period of immobilization and the occurrence will be mostly in the wrist and ankle.

Symptoms and signs:

  • Will have difficulty in using the affected area.
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Bruising
  • A pop sound will be heard when the ligament ruptures.
  • Will have a difficulty in moving the limb.


Sprains usually occur when it exceeds the functional range of motion. Factors which can increase the risk of sprains are as follows.

  • Sprains can be caused due to the fatigue of muscles.
  • After a sedentary lifestyle, if a person starts to exercise all of a sudden will result in a sprain.
  • According to the scientific studies, when an athlete does not warm up before his event can cause him a serious ligament tear in the particular joint. An athlete must warm up his body to increase the blood flow which would help the joints to be more flexible and will also loosen the joint.


A physical examination is done by the doctor based on the method of injury and the clinical presentation. X-rays are preferred by the doctors in some cases to check if there is any fracture in the joints. Sometimes, (MRI) magnetic resonance imaging scan is suggested by the physician to check the ligament and surrounding soft tissues if in case the injury is prolonged.


Sprains can be classified into three-

  • The first-degree sprain- this occurs when the ligament fibers are stretched but are intact.
  • Second-degree sprain- This appears to be a ligament tear to all the other fibers from the third.
  • Third-degree sprain- This happens when the ligament is completely ruptured.

Common places:

Sprains can occur anywhere in the body. But the most common places where this is experienced are the following-

  • The toes
  • The wrist
  • The ankles- The ankle sprains are more painful and take more time to get healed than the breaking of bones in the same area.
  • The fingers
  • The knees- Anterior cruciate ligament is a type of sprain which happens in the knee and is common to most athletes.


The interesting fact is that the sprain can be remembered with the first modality using the acronym RICE. The treatment actually depends on the severity of the injury and proper medications are given which can relieve the pain. RICE is referred to Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Without any rest, there will not be any progress in the condition. Ice and the compression will not completely reduce the pain and swelling but can help in minimizing them. The sprained joint must be elevated to minimize the swelling and this would help to recover soon.

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