What is a Sprain?
An injury that stresses a join and overstretches or ruptures a ligament, the severity of the injury ranges from:
Mild: The ligament is stretched but the join remains stable
Moderate: The ligament is partially torn causing the joint to become unstable
Severe: The ligament is completely torn and in some cases, detaches from the bone affecting how the joint function.
Mild sprains can be treated either in an urgent care or ER facility, however moderate and severe sprains will require emergency medical treatment.
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What is a Broken
In this type of musculoskeletal injury, the bone tissue suffers a fracture, this occurs when the physical force exerted on the bone is stronger than the bone itself.
There are several types of bone fractures:
Displaced Fracture: The bone snaps in two or more parts and moves, therefore the two segments are not aligned. If the bone is broken into many pieces this is known as a comminuted fracture.
Non-Displaced Fracture: The bone partially or completely cracks but there is no movement, therefore the bone continues to be correctly aligned.
Closed Fracture: The bone is broken but there is no punctured or open wound in the skin
Open Fracture: In this type of injury the bone breaks through the skin, in some cases, the bone can recede back into the wound and is no longer visible. This type of fracture carries a risk of deep bone infection, for this reason, open fractures should always be treated in the ER vs. urgent care clinics.
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What Causes a Sprain?
Sprains occur when a joint is twisted while bearing some weight. The twisting motion can be from:
- Incorrectly pivoting
- From a fall
- From an accident or collision
What causes Broken Bones?
A bone may be broken due to high force impact or stress and are usually the result of falls, collisions during sports, and accidents.
Some medical conditions can increase the risk of bone fractures such as:
- Some Cancers
- Osteogenesis Imperfecta, commonly known as brittle bone disease
How to Prevent Sprains
Nobody is immune to sprains, these can happen to anyone, however, there are some ways to lower the risks of sustaining one.
- Increase muscle strength by joining a physical training program
- Do stretching exercises every day
- Always wear appropriate footwear, and make sure they fit correctly
- Nourish your muscles by eating a well-balanced diet
- Warm up before any sports activity
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How to Prevent Broken Bones
Bone health is important, as we age our bones can become more brittle, to help keep bones healthy you should:
- Eat a well-balanced diet that contains plenty of calcium-rich foods like yogurt, cheese, and dark leafy greens.
- Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, therefore your diet should also include eggs and oily fishes like salmon, you should also get sun exposure, the darker your skin tone the more exposure you require, for fair skinned individuals 10 minutes should be enough, Hispanics or tanned individuals require 15-20 minutes a day and Afro-Americans will require at least 1 hour of sun exposure per day.
- Stay physically active, the more weight-bearing exercises you do, the stronger and denser your bones will be. Weight-bearing exercises include: walking, running, skipping, and dancing.
- Don’t smoke, smoking increases your risk of osteoporosis.
Symptoms of a Sprain
The main symptoms of a sprain include:
- Limited mobility of the injured joint
- Symptoms of a Broken Bone
Signs of a broken bone vary according to which bone was injured, the age of the patient, the overall health of the patient and the severity of the injury, however, most bone fractures show the following signs and symptoms:
- Discolored skin around the affected area
- Limited mobility
- Patient cannot put any weight on the injured area
- Angulation, the area may be bent at an unusual angle
- In cases of an open fracture, there may be bleeding
- The patient may look pale or clammy
- Patient could feel dizzy or faint
When to Go to
the Emergency Room
Patients should choose to visit the ER vs. urgent care clinics if they suspect a moderate or severe sprain has occurred, as they will require special diagnostic instruments to determine the severity of the injury.
If a bone fracture is suspected, you should seek immediate emergency treatment.
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