How to prevent strains and sprains

Muscles, tendons and ligaments enable us to move – essential to our daily lives. When we can’t move, we can’t do life. We therefore need to do everything possible to protect ourselves from any injury that could prevent us from moving and performing our daily tasks.

Muscles and tendons contract and expand when we move, with ligaments the hinges that our bones move on at our joints. It therefore makes sense that any injury to our muscles, tendons and ligaments will decrease our ability to move.  

Let’s take a closer look at the types of injury we could suffer in these essential parts of our movement ability.

A strain is an injury to the muscle or tendons (a fibrous cord of tissue that connects the muscle to the bone). When these muscle fibres tear or stretch, it is known as a strain.

A sprain occurs when the fibres of a ligament, that connects two or more bones, is injured by stretching or tearing.

Strains and sprains occur when there is sudden unexpected movement in a direction that the body did not anticipate. One of the most common examples being an ankle sprain that occurs when we step on an uneven surface and ‘roll’ our ankle.

Symptoms of sprains and strains include pain, swelling, bruising and weakness. If the injury occurs at a weight bearing joint, mobility may be limited for a period of time. Treatment of these injuries might vary and depends on the site and extent of the strain and/or sprain.

Commonly, the swelling is treated first to help reduce pain and increase mobility. Here, the application of a cold gel to the affected area, such as Deep Freeze, has proven hugely effective. Deep Freeze Cold Gel will also help treat any bruising at the site of injury. Elevation of the affected area, and rest, is also prescribed. 

However, prevention is always better than cure with a few suggestions below on how to try and prevent strains and sprains from occurring. 

Firstly, stay away from activities that are out of your reach and scope.  Our muscles need to be trained and conditioned.  If our muscles and tendons are trained and conditioned systematically, it will protect our ligaments and joints from sprains and strains.  Muscle groups need to be trained and conditioned equally as, if an imbalance occurs in these muscle groups, strains and sprains might occur more easily. If you train your muscles to progress slowly in activities, your chances of injury due to sprain and strains are much less.

Secondly, wear protective gear when you know your joints and muscles will be under pressure. Strapping and taping is helpful in situations where the muscles and joints will be under pressure for a prolonged period or due to extra load. 

Protective gear such as ankle guards and knee guards can also be used to help stabilize the joints and support the ligaments during movement and can be worn as precautionary or for protection after injury at a site. Proper warm up and stretching also plays an important role in preventing strains and sprains.

Sprains and strains are common injuries as one’s muscles, tendons and ligaments ensure we can move.  Treatment of these injuries, when they occur, include the management of swelling, bruising and pain with products such as Deep Freeze Cold Gel combined with elevation and rest as needed.

 Article written by EPT – The Ultimate Sports Recovery Experts