When it comes to injuries, many people are confused between sprains and strains. Because the two terms sound similar, they are often misused or used interchangeably. A strain is an injury to the muscle or tendon, while a sprain involves the ligament. Ligaments are strong, elastic tissues connecting the bones to each other.
Foot sprain is a much more serious problem that a foot strain, and it requires immediate medical evaluation and treatment.
Sprained foot is a common injury that usually occurs during certain physical activities such as running, walking, dancing, exercising and similar. It particularly affects the athletes, but it is very common in other people too.
Sprains in the foot usually occur in the mid foot region, which includes the arch. It also affects the joint at the base of the big toe, as well as the ankle. In fact, ankle sprains are probably the most common foot sprains.
As for the symptoms, the most prominent one is sharp, intense and immediate pain. The pain is usually so strong that the injured person is not able to walk or stand on the affected foot. There may also be some bruising and swelling.
There are three grades of foot sprains. The first grade sprain means that there are microscopic tears in the ligament, the second grade means the ligament is partially torn while in the third grade sprain the ligament is completely torn.
Treatment for foot sprains
The treatment of foot sprains depends on the severity of the injury. It is first necessary to diagnose the grade of the sprain, which is done through X-ray imaging and physical exam. In some cases an MRI or CT scan can be done, although this is not very common, because those tests are very expensive.
For mild foot sprains, the treatment consists of application of ice packs or cold compresses on regular intervals, as well as complete bed rest for at least two or three days. The area may be bandaged to reduce or prevent the swelling, and the patient is usually advised to keep the injured foot elevated, for example by propping it on some cushions.
A person who suffered a foot sprain injury may also take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve the pain and the swelling.
Sprains that involve completely torn ligament require surgery as the best course of treatment. This is not always the case, but most experts agree that surgery is the best option.
As for the recovery, the recovery times depend on the severity, and they range from two to eight weeks.