During the winter, it can be a lot trickier to get around. That’s probably why sprains are so frequent during this period. But what kind of sprain is the most common during the cold months? What do you do when you’ve sprained a joint? Read on to find out more!
The most frequent sprains in winter
To understand what happens when you sprain yourself, you need to know that joints are made up of ligaments that serve as connections between the bones, cartilage, and muscles in the joint. In fact, ligaments stabilize the joint. Therefore, a fall or awkward movement might stretch or tear the ligament or muscle fibres. Even though wrist and ankle sprains are the most common type of this injury, any joint can be sprained.
An ankle sprain is the most common type of sprain that occurs in the winter due to slips on icy surfaces. Spraining the ankle generally occurs when the foot twists inward which causes the ligament to be stretched, even torn in more severe cases.
A lumbar sprain, or lower back sprain, is another common injury during the winter months. In most cases, it causes pain in the lower back or upper buttocks. During winter, shovelling snow is one of the most common ways to sprain your back due to the repeated twisting and flexing of the back muscles.
Degrees of sprains
The severity of a sprain depends on how stretched or torn the ligament is. It’s important to assess the level of your injury because it will have a direct impact on the time it takes you to recover and how you treat your injury.
- 1st degree – mild sprain: this occurs when the ligament is slightly stretched but the joint is still functional. In most cases, moving the joint is painful and it might swell a few hours after the injury or the next day.
- 2nd degree – moderate sprain: this occurs when the ligament has been stretched and partially torn. Moving the joint is painful and difficult. The joint will often swell in under four hours and a bruise might appear.
- 3rd degree – severe sprain: this occurs when the ligament has been ruptured. The sprain is very painful and cannot be moved normally. When this type of injury occurs, you might even feel it tear. The joint will quickly swell, in under a few minutes, and a bruise will appear. You will not be able to put weight on the injury or use the joint.
How do you treat a sprain?
The best way to treat a sprain is to rest it. In fact, you need to cease using the injured joint altogether if you want to treat it. Keep in mind that no matter what type of sprain you have, you can call upon the Clinique GOTM team to come to your home and provide the care you need.
When the sprain is in the acute inflammatory stage, that is to say when you are experiencing symptoms in line with its severity (pain, swelling, bruising, etc.), you might benefit from consulting our in-home physician who will be able to assess the severity of your injury. They’ll be able to recommend the right treatment and ways to recover. They’ll also be able to prescribe anti-inflammatory medication in order to alleviate the pain and symptoms.
Physical therapists are also able to help you recover from a sprain. By recommending rehabilitation exercises, they’ll be able to assist you in your recovery and help you stabilize and strengthen your joint and therefore limit the risks of injuring yourself again.