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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is a sprain?

A sprain is a stretched or torn ligament. Ligaments support your joints and keep your bones in place. They allow you to lift, lower, or rotate your arms and legs. A sprain may involve one or more ligaments.

What are the signs and symptoms of a sprain?

You may hear or feel a pop or snap at the time of the sprain. You may also have any of the following signs and symptoms:

How is a sprain diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask you about your injury and examine you. Tell him or her if you heard a snap or pop when you were injured. Your provider will check the movement and strength of your joint. You may be asked to move the joint. You may also need any of the following:

How is a sprain treated?

Treatment depends on which ligament was injured and if more than one is affected. Treatment may also depend on how severe your injury is and when the injury occurred. You may need any of the following:

How can I manage a sprain?

How can I prevent another sprain?

Regular exercise can strengthen your muscles and help prevent another injury. Do the following before you begin or return to regular exercise or sports training:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.