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Sprains and Strains (cont.)

Medical Treatment

Sprains and strains can usually be treated with home therapy using the RICE interventions. However, if the injury is more severe, your care provider may suggest splinting or casting to rest the injured joint. In some cases, operations are required to fix complete tears of muscles or tendons to allow complete return of function and to allow those muscles to do their job of moving the body. Significant tears of ligaments that stabilize joints also may need repair, but again, most are treated with short-term immobilization and early return to activity. Sometimes, resting the injury requires some help. Slings for arm injuries or crutches for leg injuries can be used, in addition to a variety of removable splints to protect the injured area from further damage and movement. Resting also helps relieve some of the muscle spasm associated with the injury.

  • Occasionally, if the injury is especially severe, the physician may want to use a nonremovable splint made of plaster or fiberglass. Although the splint may look like a cast, it doesn't have plaster or fiberglass completely encircling the injured area. Instead, by only going partially around an injury, there is some room to allow for swelling that may occur during the next few days.

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