Health Blog

What You Need to Know About Sprains, Strains and Ankle Pains!

ankle pain

While the terms sprain and strain are often used interchangeably, there is a key difference between the two. A sprain is the tearing or overstretching of ligaments. And ligaments are the rows of tissue that connect bones in a joint. The most common location for a sprain happens to be the ankle joint. A sprain to the ankle joint often causes ankle pain. Specifically, a strain is the tearing or overstretching of a tendon or muscle. It’s the tendons that connect bones to the muscles. The most common location for a strain is the lower back and hamstring. To learn more about sprains and strains, give Orthopedic and Balance Therapy Specialists a call.


The Similarities of a Sprain and a Strain and Causes


The symptoms of a sprain and strain are much alike. That’s due to the fact that the injuries are very similar. You may experience swelling, muscle spasm, difficulty with range of motion, limited flexibility and pain around the affected joint. The main difference between the two is that a sprain will usually present with bruising around the affected joint.

The cause of a strain or sprain may be due to:


  • Athletic activities
  • Slipping and falling
  • Prolonged repetitive motion
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Overexerting yourself


The risk factors for a strain or sprain include not warming up before a physical activity, being tired, using improper equipment and being out of shape. Plus, there are environmental risk factors, such as slippery or icy surfaces.


Treatment for Strains and Sprains


Mild sprains and strains are often treated with the RICE technique: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. However, when the RICE technique doesn’t work, it’s time to see a doctor. A doctor may take an X-ray to see if there are any breaks to the bone. If that’s ruled out, the diagnosis is usually a strain or sprain. Your doctor may even recommend a physical therapist. No matter how you incurred the strain or sprain, physical therapy can play a major role in your comeback. A physical therapist will use a mix of different techniques to reduce pain, including ankle pain, improve strength and ramp up coordination. Active treatment includes stretching and exercises. Passive treatments include ultrasound, electrical stimulation, heat therapy and massage. Electrical stimulation and heat therapy are very effective for reducing ankle pain.

Physical therapy has been proven to be effective for ligament sprains like an ACL tear. An ACL tear is a very common knee injury. Physical therapy has also been shown to be effective for an injury to the Achilles tendon and other types of sprains and strains.


The Stats on Ankle Injuries


According to WebMD, “Ankle injuries can happen to anyone at any age. However, men between 15 and 24 years old have higher rates of ankle sprain, compared to women older than age 30 who have higher rates than men. Half of all ankle sprains occur during an athletic activity. Every day in the U.S., 25,000 people sprain their ankle. And more than 1 million people visit emergency rooms each year because of ankle injuries. The most common ankle injuries are sprains and fractures, which involve ligaments and bones in the ankle. But you can also tear or strain a tendon.”


If you’re suffering from ankle pain or a strain or sprain, be sure to contact our LaPorte, Valparaiso, Crown Point, & Highland, IN physical therapy offices to learn how we can get you on the road to recovery. Our experienced and certified physical therapists will do a comprehensive assessment of your condition and create an individualized treatment program. Live a pain-free life with physical therapy.

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Our Reviews
Tim Nash
Tim Nash
15:32 27 Aug 18
My first experience with OBTS was very positive. During the course of my 13 therapy sessions I worked with many different therapists and all of them were professional and competent. They were able to help me effectively control my pain without medication using their therapy program. Unfortunately, they could not get my physical condition back to the same ability as before. However, this is due to the fact that it was later determined by my doctors that I required surgery. I plan on returning to OBTS for my post-op physical therapy and have already scheduled my evaluation appointment. Scheduling seems to be a challenge sometimes but that's probably an indication of their patient's satisfaction and good reviews. Thank you OBTS!
Arlene Gross
Arlene Gross
15:58 22 Jun 18
Everyone that worked with me was helpful. I enjoyed watching the staff interact as they worked as they laughed and smiled making me feel that it was fun to exercise. My knee pain is less and I look forward to having the same results with my back.
Jose Ico
Jose Ico
12:43 27 Apr 18
My wife and I have been coming here for a year. They have wonderful customer service and the treatments were great. I could say that since coming here for treatments, I am now able to walk properly and sleep well at nights. They help you in the best way possible. The people here are great and we definitely recommend it to everyone!
Paul Grant
Paul Grant
21:51 03 Apr 18
I have read lots of reviews that say "the entire staff of ..." is great, and you know that it is BS.. .. Butt at OBTS that statement is true. The person answering the phone, appointment setting they work around my schedule. It is truly a team concept. Everyone that has work with/on me keeps me focus on getting healthy to play golf.... Even those employees that haven't work with/on me are upbeat, positive and encouraging both their patients and me..... follow up phone calls, positive, hand written notes of encouragement, reminding me to do my homework so I can play golf this year. Great Employees, Great Business!.
Diane Burns
Diane Burns
02:30 16 Mar 18
I’ve had an incredible experience here at OBTS. In just two and half weeks I’ve seen and felt remarkable results. My hip mobility has improved by 30%. I credit the excellent physical therapists and the deep tissue laser therapy for my gains. I’ve gone from walking with a limp and pain everyday to walking normally and know that I’ll be back to running in the future. Every single person is warm and friendly here. Great place!
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