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What is a sprain?

A sprain is one of the most common soft tissue injuries to occur in California as a result of auto accidents. Many people have the idea that a sprain is not a serious injury. While a sprain is not life-threatening and may take less time to heal than a broken bone, it can still be a painful condition that prevents you from performing your normal activities, at least on a short-term basis. Sprains of the shoulders or knees often result from motor vehicle accidents. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, a sprain affects specific tissues in your body known as the ligaments, which bind your bones to one another at your joints. This flexible connection between two or more bones affords you the ability to move. A severe impact or trauma at the site of a joint can cause your ligaments to become torn or stretched, and “sprain” is the name for the damage that results.

In addition to pain, a sprain can result in symptoms of limited mobility at the affected joint, bruising and swelling. You should have a doctor evaluate a suspected strain to rule out broken bones and check for any neurological damage. 

Depending on the severity of the sprain, it can take anywhere from a few days to several months to heal. Often, your doctor will advise you to avoid putting any weight on the affected joint. Though most sprains heal with conservative treatment measures, including pain medications, compression and icing, it may be necessary for you to have surgery to treat a severe ligament injury. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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