The Doctor Is In: Sprains and Strains

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(KPLR)-- As more people are getting out and about, running, biking, swimming and playing baseball, local physicians are seeing a lot more injuries.

Dr. Sonny Saggar is here with some precautions everyone should be taking.

1. What are the benefits of a warm up?

Warming up exercises for 5-10 minutes gently get the blood circulating and the muscle fibers 'warmed up' so they are more pliable and 'elastic', being able to tolerate bigger work loads (this is called DYNAMIC STRETCHING).

1.     Warm muscles have faster speeds of contraction and relaxation; Dynamic stretching reduces muscle stiffness

2.     Better oxygen utilization by warmed muscles because Hb releases oxygen better at higher temperatures; Better recruitment of back-up muscle units at higher temperatures

3.     Gets heart rate to a workable rate for starting exercise

2. What are the benefits of a cool down?

Cooling down exercises for 5-10 minutes slow the heart rate and stretch warmed up muscles (this is called STATIC STRETCHING).

1.     Better elimination of waste products like lactic acid, preventing cramps later

2.     Reduces pooling of blood in the veins of the extremities, preventing dizziness and fainting

3.     Reducing adrenaline levels and so allowing heart rate to return to normal more efficiently\

3. What`s the difference between a Sprain and a Strain, and does it really matter?
When a joint or a muscle is pulled or stretched beyond its normal range of motion.
1.     A Strain is essentially a pulled muscle, when you have damage to muscle fibers and the attached tendons

2.     A Sprain damages ligaments that are attached to bones, so disrupting the stability of the joint involved

3.     Most sprains and strains can be treated at home, but some can feel worse than a fracture

4.     As sprains and strains are treated essentially in the same way, I don`t think it matters too much whether you name it wrong!

4. Tell me about the treatment, which we all hear about as the acronym R.I.C.E.

1.     Rest the injured area for 24-48 hours

2.     Ice the injured area for 10-15 minutes every 2-3 hours for the first 48 hours, this reduces swelling and inflammation

3.     Compress the injured area with a tight elastic bandage for 30 minutes and then unwrap for 15minutes; then repeat this several times. This helps control the swelling, especially in the legs, counteracting gravity especially, as well as giving added support to the joint involved

4.     Elevate the injured area as much and as often as you can; this helps reduce excess soft tissue swelling

5.     Use an antiinflammatory like Ibuprofen, also to reduce swelling, but have it with meals

6.     Then gradually add weight and movement after 48 hours and proceed with caution

5. If self-management doesn`t seem to be working, when should someone with a sprain or strain seek medical attention?

1.     Rapid swelling or bruising within 15 minutes of the initial injury

2.     Inability to move the injured joint at all

3.     Inability to bear any weight

4.     An Obvious deformity

5.     Loss of feeling to the injured area

6.     No improvement in 1 week

7.     Repeated injury to the same area (more than once in 12 months)

Anchor: Dr. Sonny Saggar is an internist and emergency physician, on staff at hospitals all over town. He is also the Medical Director of Saint Louis Urgent Cares, which can find more about at

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You can also connect with Dr. Saggar, the Medical Director at St. Louis Urgent Cares, and ask him any questions you like


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