Sprains Specialist

W. Joseph Absi, MD -  - Sports Medicine Specialist

Orthopaedics of Atlanta and Aesthetic Institute

W. Joseph Absi, MD

Sports Medicine Specialist & Joint Replacement Surgeon located in Atlanta, GA

When you twist your ankle, jam your wrist, or hurt your thumb, you may have a sprained ligament. If you need to treat your sprain in order to return to work, sports, or daily activities, W. Joseph Absi, MD, and his team at Orthopaedics of Atlanta and Aesthetic Institute in Atlanta, Georgia, can help. From physical therapy and lifestyle adjustments to surgical repair, Dr. Absi offers the most up-to-date, supportive treatments possible to get you back on your feet or back in your game. Set up a sprains consultation by using the handy online form or calling the friendly staff during office hours.

Sprains Q&A

What is a sprain?

A sprain is stretched or torn ligament. Ligaments are thick, fibrous, bands of tissue that attach one bone to another. Your ligaments stabilize your joints and keep them from sliding out of place. Sprained ankles are the most common type of sprain, followed by wrist, knee, and thumb. 

How did I get a sprain?

Half of diagnosed sprained ankles occur during sports or other athletic activities. However, anyone can get a sprain if they:

  • Exercise on uneven surfaces
  • Slip or fall
  • Land wrong when jumping or running
  • Break a fall with an outstretched hand
  • Twist a knee or ankle
  • Overextend a thumb

You’re more likely to get a sprain as you age and your ligaments weaken. Fatigue, the wrong type of footwear, and poorly designed exercise equipment could also raise your risk for a sprain.

How do doctors treat sprains?

Dr. Absi first determines how severe your sprain is by examining your injury, asking about your symptoms, and finding out how mobile the joint is. He may take a digital X-ray or another type of imaging study to grade your sprain:

Grade 1 — mildly stretched ligament

Grade 1 sprains usually heal on their own with the RICE protocol:

  • Resting the injured body part
  • Icing the injury with a wrapped ice pack 20 minutes per hour for 24-48 hours
  • Compressing the injury with a bandage
  • Elevating the injured body part

You can control swelling and pain by taking over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). Dr. Absi may also recommend physical therapy (RT) to strengthen and stabilize your joint.

Grade 2 — partial ligament tear and loose joint

In addition to the RICE protocol and PT, Dr. Absi may have you wear a brace. The brace stabilizes your joint to help the ligament heal. He may also administer joint injections to reduce pain and inflammation.

Grade 3 — complete ligament tear and unstable joint

A grade 3 sprain — such as an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear — almost always needs surgical repair. Dr. Absi inserts a miniature camera called an arthroscope into your joint through tiny incisions. He creates a graft with another ligament and then uses it to replace your torn ligament.

Contact the knowledgeable team at Orthopaedics of Atlanta and Aesthetic Institute about sprains by calling the office or using the online form today.