The vast majority of people will experience a sprain at some point in their lives. Some sprains, like a sprained thumb, feel pretty minor. Others, like an ankle sprain, could leave you debilitated for a little while.
The good news about sprains is that, with proper care, they fully heal. Your sprain shouldn’t be something that creates chronic issues for you. But some sprains require a doctor’s care to heal sufficiently.
How do you know when it’s time to see a doctor for your issue? As a specialist in treating sprains, W. Joseph Absi, MD, created this guide. You can use it to determine if your sprain warrants a visit to him at the Orthopedics of Atlanta & Aesthetic Institute in Smyrna, Georgia.
Determining the severity of a sprain
First, it’s time to perform a little self-diagnosis. Your goal is to figure out if your sprain is serious enough to require medical attention.
A big part of this comes down to determining whether you’ve truly sprained the area or sustained a more serious injury. If you have pain or tenderness in a meatier part of your body, it’s more likely to be a sprain. If the sensitivity centers right around a bone, it could be a fracture or a break.
Next, try to classify the discomfort. If it’s pain, that could be a sign of a sprain. But if you’re experiencing any tingling or numbness, the affected area could be broken or fractured.
Your eyes can help you here. If your joint doesn’t look right, it might be something more serious than a sprain.
Ultimately, if you’re not sure if the area is sprained or more seriously injured, it’s not worth waiting it out. Make an appointment with Dr. Absi so he can diagnose the injury. If it’s a break or a fracture, prompt care can ensure your bone heals in proper alignment.
Waiting out a sprain
If you decide the area is simply sprained, you can try waiting at home as your body heals the area. Using the RICE protocol can help, which means applying:
If it’s not feeling better after a few days of resting and elevating the area, along with applying compression and ice, it’s time to make an appointment.
Here at our office, Dr. Absi can help to alleviate your discomfort and support your healing process. He tailors your treatment based on the severity of your sprain, and it might include:
- Physical therapy
- Joint injections
For any sprains that don’t improve with rest in a few days, we’re here. Don’t hesitate to get the care your injury needs by calling our office or requesting an appointment online.