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What is a sprain?

When you stretch or tear a ligament that supports one of your joints, you are said to have suffered a sprain. People use the words “strain” and “sprain” in exchange for one another, but the injuries are very different. Either injury can be caused by trauma or repetitive activities. A person involved in a car accident, a slip and fall injury or any type of accident may suffer a sprain.

Sprains are often diagnosed by a doctor during a physical examination. While imaging may be used to confirm the diagnosis, it is not always necessary. Many doctors will diagnose a sprain simply by taking a thorough medical history, listening to the details of the accident, having the patient describe their symptoms, and conducting an exam. Symptoms of a sprain include bruising, pain and swelling.

Treatment for a sprain follows RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. The person suffering the sprain will be advised to elevate the area, apply ice, wrap the joint with a compression bandage and rest the joint. Most sprains will resolve when RICE is used, but some do require surgical intervention and therapy.

When you believe that you may have suffered a sprain, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. The faster a sprain is diagnosed and treated, the faster it may heal. If your injury was caused by some type of accident or trauma in Pensacola, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine whether you are legally entitled to compensation.