Ligament Sprains and Tears
A sprain is when you stretch or tear a ligament. A ligament is an elastic band of tissue that connects your bones to each other. They provide support and stability within the joint. A sprain typically happens when you move in a way that puts stress on the joint. Symptoms typically include swelling, stiffness and pain.
Tendon Strains and Tears
A strain is when a muscle or the fibrous tissue between bone and muscle (aka tendon) gets stretched or torn. A strain is typically caused by too much pressure on a muscle or tendon during any sort of strenuous activity such as working out or lifting a heavy object. Symptoms of a tendon strain can include pain, bruising, or limited motion. Tendons may partially tear or strain during injury but can also completely tear or rupture. Signs of a tendon rupture can include severe and early bruising, hearing or feeling a popping sound at the time of injury, moderate to severe pain, and significant weakness. In many cases, tendon ruptures require surgical repair. Partial tendon tears and strains may require rest, immobilization, oral medications, physical therapy, and possibly injection. The provider utilizes the patient’s history, physical examination, and possibly advanced imaging such as MRI to determine the extent of the injury and formulate an appropriate treatment plan.
A fracture is a broken bone. They are most commonly due to injury or trauma. There is a specific type of fracture called a stress fracture which is not traumatic and can be caused by overuse. Some fractures require surgery to put the fracture into better alignment to allow for proper healing, while others can heal on their own. Fractures treated without surgery usually require a period of immobilization in a brace, cast, or boot depending on the location of the injury. Fractures treated non-surgically generally require several weeks to heal and follow-up x-rays to evaluate for bone healing. In some cases, even well aligned fractures, treated appropriately, will not heal fully, and may ultimately still require surgical treatment.