Distortion (lat. Distorsio) means injuries of the joints, most likely due to inappropriate movements that cause instantaneous movement of the joints from their socket. The most commonly affected joints are the knee, fingers, wrist and ankle. The structures affected by the sprain are called ligaments.
The severity of pain due to sprains depends on the degree of stretching or tearing of the ligament.
In mild sprains (first degree), the ligaments are stretched, but not torn. This degree of sprain is characterized by moderate pain with mild or no swelling
In moderate sprain (second degree) the ligament is partially torn. Swelling and bruising are common, while movements in the affected joint are difficult and painful.
In the most severe sprain (third degree), the ligament is completely torn, so there is swelling, and sometimes subcutaneous bleeding (bruising). As a result, the joint is unstable and cannot bear the load, ie the movements are completely disabled.
Diagnosis and treatment
Examination of the joint can determine the extent to which the ligament is damaged. An X-ray can determine a bone fracture, but not just a sprain. Rarely, other tests are needed to make a diagnosis. Treatment depends on the degree of sprain.
Patients with soft tissue injuries use a procedure called RICE (Rest - Ice, Ice - Compression, Elevation - lifting the injured limb).
Rest prevents additional injury and can speed healing. In the first 24-48 hours (every 15-20 minutes, as often as possible), ice (frozen fruits, vegetables, etc.) is occasionally applied, closed in a plastic bag, and then placed in a cotton material (towel, sheet), which reduces swelling and pain. Compression, ie the placement of an elastic bandage that needs to be removed during the night, contributes to the reduction of swelling and pain. Raising the injured limb above the level of the heart so that gravity helps reduce swelling. Also, different types of gels (eg Voltaren gel, Fastum gel, Lioton gel and others) can be used in the treatment, which can significantly speed up the treatment period itself.
It is important to note that any use of an injured joint leads to increased pain, and the swelling itself.
If the above self-help measures have not led to improvement, it is necessary to contact the family doctor for further diagnosis.
In order to avoid sprains, it is necessary to: avoid walking on slippery surfaces, sports activities in inadequate equipment, sports activities without prior exercise, exercises that cause pain…