Some athletes compete for years without even the most minor injury, while others of us step off a curb and end up with an injury. Whether clumsiness, an active lifestyle, or the neglect of others has resulted in your injury, you may not know exactly what type of damage you’re facing; you just know it hurts! Here’s your quick rundown to understand what you’re dealing with.

A Sprain

sprain footA sprain is marked by stretching or tearing of a ligament. Since ligaments are the fibrous tissues that connect bones to joints, the most common sprains occur in the ankles and wrists. This injury will cause pain, swelling, and bruising, but you should still be able to move the impacted area with limited mobility.

Since not all sprains heal on their own, you should stop into an urgent care center to have it checked out. You may or may not require a minor surgery to repair the ligament. Redness, numbness, and inability to move the area are all signs that a doctor’s expertise is definitely needed.

A Fracture

Unlike a sprain, a fracture is actually a broken or cracked bone. This type of injury is easily identifiable if the affected area looks misshapen, your extremities are numb and/or blue, you’re having trouble breathing, or a bone is sticking through the skin. This definitely requires immediate medical attention, no questions asked.

Use RICE

No, not the rice you eat. The RICE approach is recommended by doctors to help your body recover from an injury. Rest, Ice, Compress, and Evaluate.

Rest the injured body part and don’t put pressure on it until the pain eases. Use ice, ice slush baths, and ice massages to decrease swelling, pain, and bruising. This can continue up to three days after the injury. Compression, like wrapping your ankle, can also prevent bruising and swelling, and you can maintain a wrap for a week or more. Elevation means resting the injured body part above the level of your heart to help prevent selling. Two to three hours a day of elevation is ideal.

When in doubt, visit your nearest urgent care center for quick and effective medical attention so you know exactly what your body needs to heal.

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