Sprains & Strains treatment in Portland & Beaverton

Sprains and strains are common sports and on-the-job injuries that share similar symptoms but involve different connective tissues.

What is the Difference Between a Sprain and a Strain?

A sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments in a joint. Ligaments are tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones together. The most common injury is a sprained ankle. A severe sprain can result in a torn ligament.

A strain is a stretching or tearing of tendon or muscle. A tendon is a fibrous cord of tissue that connects muscles to bones. Strains often occur in the lower back and in the hamstring muscle in the back of the thigh.

Go To Ortho Sprains Strains

What Are The Symptoms of Sprains and Strains?

Symptoms for sprains and strains vary, depending on the severity of the injury, but typically include:

  • Pain, Swelling or Bruising in the Injured Area
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Limited Ability to Move the Affected Muscle or Joint

More severe symptoms may include:

  • Hearing or Feeling a “Pop” in the Joint When The Injury Occurs
  • Can’t Walk More Than Four Steps with Significant Pain
  • Can’t Move the Affected Joint
  • Have Pain Directly Over the Bones of an Injured Joint
  • Have Numbness in Any Part of the Injured Area

If you have a sprain, your doctor may mention its “grade:”

Grade I – Stretched ligament or a very mild tear with little or no instability at the joint
Grade II – More serious but still incomplete tear with some looseness in the joint
Grade III – Completely torn or ruptured ligament with instability at the joint, very painful and cannot put weight on joint

How Do You Treat a Sprain and Strain?

Mild sprains and strains will heal with treatment. Before visiting Go To Ortho, you can provide initial treatment at home with Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) therapy. This treatment is particularly important within the first 24 to 72 hours after injury.

As the pain and swelling go down, you can cut down on RICE therapy, and begin to use the affected area again.

GTO 13 rice info graphic

What Can You Take For Pain and How Often?

You can take Ibuprofen or Aleve to help relieve pain and swelling. Follow the directions on the label for how often you should take the medication.

When Should You Seek Medical Attention for a Sprain or Strain?

You should see a doctor right away if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Pain and swelling don’t start to ease within 24 to 72 hours.
  • You cannot bear weight.
  • Your symptoms get worse.

How Are More Severe Sprains and Strains Treated?

For more severe sprains and strains, your doctor may recommend that you have x-rays done to check whether or not you have a fracture. An MRI may also be ordered to check on your ligaments. For some sprains, such as an ankle sprain, you may need a cast and/or crutches. For more severe injuries, surgery may be required to repair torn ligaments, tendons, or muscles.

How Long Does Recovery from a Sprain or Strain Take?

The time for recovery for a sprain or strain usually depends on the type and severity of injury you have. Typically, though, a slight sprain or strain will take a few days to heal, while a mild to moderate sprain or strain may take 3 to 8 weeks for full recovery. More severe injuries may take months for a full recovery, especially if surgery is involved.

In general, however, as with any period of recovery, you shouldn’t rush it to get active again, as you could reinjure the area and make it worse. Ideally, it is best to rehab your injury gradually and to follow your doctor’s advice. Your doctor or physical therapist may recommend certain exercises to help you get back to your normal routine at a safe pace. If these exercises cause the affected area to flare-up (e.g., pain, inflammation), then cut back on the frequency of your exercises and call your doctor.

When Should You Get Your Injury Re-Evaluated?

Talk to your doctor at the time of treatment regarding any follow-up instructions. It often depends on the type of injury as to whether or not you need to follow up with your primary care provider. If your sprain or strain isn’t healing within 2 weeks after injury, and you are experiencing increased pain and swelling, call your doctor for re-evaluation.

While the degree of pain is usually a good indicator of how severe a sprain or strain is, that is not always the case initially. Sometimes a tear, such as an Achilles tendon tear, may not be so painful at first, but later on, the pain may be excruciating because this type of tear is more severe.

Risk Factors for Sprains and Strains

Anyone can sprain or strain a body part, but certain factors can increase your risk of injury. These are:

  • Body composition
  • Physical activities you engage in
  • Wearing improper or ill-fitted footwear
  • Overworked muscles
  • Foot morphology
  • History of previous sprain or strain
  • Environmental factors (such as slippery surfaces or weather conditions)
  • Lack of conditioning, i.e., being out of shape and performing physical activities

What Is the Outlook for Sprains and Strains With Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is the number-one way to strengthen a joint or muscle and promote long-term recovery. Everyone’s body heals at its own pace, so no one can promise specific results from treatment. However, the goal of physical therapy is to reduce pain and restore function. As long as you actively participate in treatment, you are likely to see significant improvement.

For premier physical therapy in the Portland suburbs, Beaverton, and Lake Osewgo areas, patients choose Go To Ortho. Our team in Cedar Hills provides therapy for all types of sprains and strains. Ty, our physical therapist, and Linda, our occupational therapist, work hard to help each patient reach their goals and find relief from their symptoms.

Myths and Misconceptions About Sprains and Strains

There are some common myths about sprains and strains that often cause people to delay treatment or underestimate their risks when performing certain activities. Here are the facts surrounding the most common inaccurate beliefs people have about their sprains or strains.

Myth #1: Wearing Braces Will Prevent Sprains

Elbow, knee, and wrist braces can lower the risk, but they are not a fool-proof method against sprains, especially if you have a previous injury. While you may wear a brace for added stability, you cannot replace physical therapy and the benefits of rehabilitation with a brace.

If you have sprained or strained any joint, it is important to consult with an orthopedic specialist who can prescribe a personalized care plan.

Misconception #1: Crutches Help Sprains Heal Faster

Putting weight on the injured joint can actually promote healing better than avoiding it. Of course, this depends on the grade of the sprain or strain, but generally speaking, part of rehabilitation involves gradually placing weight onto the joint so that it can heal and strengthen.

Delaying using a joint may benefit your pain management, but it could cause your sprain or strain to take much longer to recover.

Myth #2: Being Active Means You Won’t Get a Sprain

This is completely untrue. In fact, sprains and strains are more likely to affect athletes and active individuals. Repetitive use can strain muscles and joints, and the sudden movements involved in many physical activities can lead to sprains.

It is important to always take precautions to avoid injuring yourself, even if you are an athletic person.

Misconception #2: Rest Will Heal Any Sprain or Strain

While rest is a part of recovery, moderate to severe sprains and strains benefit from professional treatment. The most severe cases may require surgical repair. The truth is that you should never leave recovery from a sprain or strain up to chance; see a doctor who specializes in orthotics to ensure you heal completely.

Preventing Sprains and Strains

You can lower your risk of injury by:

  • Ensuring proper form during exercise
  • Learning how to load your back properly when lifting weights or heavy objects
  • Avoiding sudden physical movements, especially while running
  • Properly warming up your body before any physical activity
  • Wearing appropriate footwear while participating in sports or performing exercise
  • Respecting your body’s limits and avoiding excessive loading or strenuous activity

Contact Us

We offer the best sprain and strain treatment in Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Woodburn rural areas, and more. If you or a loved one has experienced a sprain or strain requiring medical attention, please come to see us. Our expert team helps patients around Portland and the Portland suburbs receive the most comprehensive care for their injuries. From acute treatment to pain management, you can always count on us.

Walk-in appointments are welcome. View our hours.


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