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A sprain is a stretch and/or a tear of a ligament, typically caused by a direct or indirect shock that knocks a joint out of position.

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What causes a sprain?

A sprain occurs when the connective tissues that stabilize and support your body’s joints are stretched or torn. Sprains have three categories: mild, moderate and severe, and when a sprain occurs, you will usually feel a tear or pop in the joint.

Sprain Symptoms

Symptoms of a sprain include:

  • Pain

  • Bruising

  • Swelling

  • Inflammation

What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?

Sprains affect the ligaments and strains affect the tendons (an easy way to remember this is sTrains = tendons or muscles). Both ligaments and tendons are connective tissues, and both are measured by severity. You can have a mild sprain or a severe strain, or vice versa.

How can I treat my sprain at home?

If you are experiencing mild symptoms of a sprain, you can typically treat them by following the acronym RICE:

Rest: Avoid putting weight on the affected area.

Ice: Apply cold for 15-20 minutes at a time.

Compression: Use an elasticized wrap to compress and reduce swelling.

Elevation: Keep the area raised whenever possible, ideally to the height of your hip or higher.

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When should you visit urgent care for sprain diagnosis and treatment?

If you’re experiencing moderate to severe symptoms of a sprain, a medical provider at WellNow Urgent Care can help evaluate the severity of your injury. Check in online or walk in to a WellNow location nearest you.

This medical information has been reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Robert Biernbaum, Chief Medical Officer for WellNow Urgent Care.

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Injuries We Treat

WellNow Urgent Care can help when you or a family member is hurt. Our dedicated medical team will provide prompt, comprehensive and compassionate care to help you get better, faster.

This list contains are most frequently treated injuries. If you are experiencing pain from an injury not listed or are unsure of the source of your discomfort, visit a WellNow Urgent Care clinic near you or start a virtual care session.

A - E

Abrasions (Scrapes)
Abscesses and Cysts
Animal Bites
Back Pain
Cuts and Lacerations
Eye Complaints