Sprains and Strains - Symptoms

Besides pain, what were the symptoms associated with your sprain or strain injury?

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What are sprain symptoms and signs?

The first symptom of a sprain or strain injury is usually pain, though there may be a delay in onset of the symptom and the person who is injured may not recall the specific event that caused the injury. For example, a person who paints a room may develop shoulder pain the day after the repetitive effort of brushing overhead. This is because inflammation, swelling, and spasm can take time (from minutes to hours) to develop.

Pain is always a symptom that indicates that there is something wrong with the body. It is the message to the brain that warns that a muscle or joint should be protected from further harm. In work, exercise, or sport, the pain may come on after a specific incident, or it may gradually progress after many repetitions of a motion.

Swelling almost always occurs with injury, but it may take from minutes to hours to be noticed. Anytime fibers of a ligament, muscle, or tendon are damaged, some bleeding occurs. The bleeding (such as bruising on the surface of the skin) may take time to be noticed.

Because of pain and swelling, the body starts to favor the injured part. This may cause the muscles that surround the injured area to go into spasm. Hard knots of muscle might be felt near the site of the injury.

The combination of pain, swelling, and spasm causes the body to further protect the injured part, which results in difficulty with use. Limping is an example of the body trying to protect an injured leg.

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