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A sprain is a traumatic lesion involving a joint that leads to the stretching or rupture of ligaments. A sudden movement or trauma is the cause. There are roughly two types of sprains:
  • a mild sprain with strained, but not broken, ligaments;
  • a severe sprain with torn ligaments that may be broken.

Contributing factors include excessive training and practicing sports that expose the joints in question. A painful sprain usually heals with a correct treatment. The most common sprains affect ankles, wrists, fingers and knees.


A mild or moderate sprain is characterized by:
  • a traumatized joint pain;
  • difficulty moving the joint;
  • swelling (edema) appearing immediately or sometimes several hours after the injury;
  • sometimes a hematoma.

A severe sprain causes the following symptoms:
  • immediate severe pain at time of injury;
  • inability to move the joint without pain;
  • often a hematoma;
  • edema that appears immediately after the sprain;
  • the feeling of a crack or a tear during the trauma.


A clinical examination, supplemented if necessary by an X-ray to confirm the existence of a breach, will help the doctor to determine the type of sprain. The diagnosis can accurately determine which ligament is affected. Radiography is useful to ensure the absence of bone injury in case of doubt, but does not in any way show stretched or torn ligaments.


Resting the affected joint is imperative. Medical treatment is adapted to the sprain and its location. It may include:
  • Stopping sports that demand too much of the affected joint;
  • taking analgesics or anti-inflammatory drugs;
  • strapping, which protects the ligaments;
  • using a splint or cast;
  • a surgical procedure rarely, if there is severe sprain;
  • a rehabilitation until full recovery.


Preventing sprains can be done by all audiences, athletic or not, children, adults or seniors. It consists of:
  • a systematic warming up before any physical activity or sport;
  • regular hydration during activity;
  • the use of shoes suitable for walking, especially on steep or unstable soil and out in nature.

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