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Fitness Buffs, Avoid the Strain

Sprains and strains among the most common injuries

SUNDAY, Oct. 5, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- Sprains and strains are among the most common injuries to plague fitness buffs -- and even those of you who aren't that active.

The bones in your body are connected by ligaments and supported by muscles and tendons. A sprain occurs when one of the ligaments stretches or tears. This type of injury is most common in your ankles, knees and wrists.

Strains occur when the muscle or tendon is injured -- usually a stretch or a tear and usually in the foot or leg.

Both sprains and strains can be treated the same way, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), which is to say, with RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation), followed by simple exercises. Moderate sprains may also require bracing. In the worst case scenario, surgery may be needed.

There are also ways to prevent these injuries from happening. The AAOS shows you how:

  • Listen to your body's signals. Being tired or in pain often means you're going too far.
  • Stretch before each workout.
  • Consult your doctor about further treatment and to get an appropriate program of exercise to follow.

More information

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more on sprains and strains.

SOURCE: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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