Sprains are ligament injuries, which can be as painful and disabling as fractures. If you’re having problems with a sprain that won’t heal, LA Orthopaedic Specialists in Downtown Los Angeles, California, can help. The board-certified doctors can find out how damaged the ligament is and perform expert surgery to repair the damage if required. Call LA Orthopaedic Specialists today to find out more or book an appointment online.

request an appointment

What is a sprain?

A sprain is an injury involving a ligament. Ligaments are tough pieces of connective tissue that connect the bones in your joints together.

Strains are similar injuries that are often confused with sprains. However, strains affect tendons, which are the connective tissues that join muscles onto your bones.

Sprains are the type of injury that affects almost everyone at some time in their life. They usually occur when you engage in physical activity and overreach yourself, or if you move awkwardly or fall and put excessive strain on the ligament.

What are the symptoms of a sprain?

Most sprains are acute injuries, so you feel pain in the affected area straight away. After the initial injury, you might develop symptoms such as:

  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Bruising
  • Reddened skin

In most cases, ligament sprains make it hard for you to use the affected joint. For example, you might be unable to bear weight if you sprain your ankle or knee, or you might find it hard to grip or lift anything if you sprain your shoulder, elbow, or wrist.

If you rupture a ligament completely, you might lose the ability to move the affected joint at all.

How is a sprain diagnosed?

When you visit LA Orthopaedic Specialists, your provider needs to examine your injured joint carefully and hear how the injury occurred. This physical exam can often give them a good idea of the cause of your symptoms.

To confirm the initial diagnosis or rule out any other causes, your provider at LA Orthopaedic Specialists might need to run some diagnostic tests such as:

  • Digital X-rays
  • Ultrasound scan
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan

Using these technologies, LA Orthopaedic Specialists can determine the extent of any damage to your ligaments and create an appropriate treatment plan for you.

What treatments are best for sprains?

Mild sprains often heal with basic treatments. A combination of rest, use of a compression bandage, application of an ice pack or cooling gel, and raising your injured limb to prevent swelling can all help the sprain to heal. You can also use over-the-counter pain-killing and anti-inflammatory medications.

If your sprain is more severe, or a mild sprain isn’t getting better with home care, your provider at LA Orthopaedic Specialists might prescribe a combination of treatments, such as:

  • Immobilization
  • Physical therapy
  • Electric stimulation therapy 
  • Laser therapy
  • Ultrasound
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections

If your sprain isn’t responding to these treatments, or you have a severe grade 3 sprain in which the ligament ruptures completely, you might need to undergo surgery. 

When possible, LA Orthopaedic Specialists uses minimally invasive arthroscopy to treat sprains that require surgery.

If you think you have a sprain, call LA Orthopaedic Specialists today or book an appointment online.