Sprains of the Ankle, Knee, and Wrist – What You Need to Understand


Sprains happen when a ligament within a joint is either stretched or torn. This typically occurs in the ankles, knees, and wrists. In severe cases, surgery may be required when the ligament has been torn. In most minor cases, though, rest and physical therapy are recommended. 

In this post, Agile Urgent Care shares what you need to know about sprains: 

What Causes Sprains?

The severity of a sprain is directly proportional to the amount of force placed on the joint. Sports falls, and other activities that put a significant amount of pressure on the appropriate joint can lead to the injury.

For example, running on an uneven surface, or forcing a joint past its normal range of motion, can put too much stress on a ligament. The risk of injury and severity of the sprain depends on which joint is injured.

Where Do Sprains Usually Occur?

Sprains can occur in just about any joint, including the wrist, ankle, knee, and shoulder. However, sprains of the wrist, ankle, and knee are more common than sprains of the shoulder.

Who Is at Risk for Sprains?

Sports injuries, such as those caused by playing basketball, football, or soccer, account for the majority of sprained wrists and ankles. Athletes are not the only ones at risk for sprained ankles, though. Careless movements, such as walking in high heels or walking on uneven surfaces, can also cause ankle sprains.

Wrist sprains are common in many different scenarios, as well. Wearing a watch or jewelry that is too bulky or heavy can easily cause an injury. In addition, falling onto a hand with outstretched arms can cause an injury.

Sprained knees are more common in elderly individuals with weakened ligaments and other muscles. In addition, people with diabetes, obesity, and weak knees are more prone to sprained knees.

How Is a Sprain Diagnosed?

Many sprains look the same. However, in many cases, a doctor will ask about the nature of the injury to determine the type of sprain that has occurred. An X-ray may also be used to determine the extent of the injury. However, sprained wrists and ankles are not usually X-rayed because the results are not typically helpful.

What Should You Do If You Get Sprained?

Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) are recommended for minor sprains. Resting and icing the area, along with using a compression wrap, can help reduce pain and swelling.

Compression wraps, also known as elastic wraps, or ACE wraps, can be bought at most drug stores and effectively keep swelling to a minimum. They can also help keep the joint warm, promoting speedy healing.

Keeping the injured area elevated above the heart to reduce swelling and pain is essential. This can be done by placing a couple of pillows under the knee or arm. Elevating the injured area above the heart will help keep swelling down, as well.


Sprains, depending on how bad it is, can be anything from discomfort for a few hours to excruciating pain that could even require surgery. What this tells you is that it’s still something that needs to be treated seriously, especially if it’s not getting better even after resting, icing the area, applying compression, and elevating the sprained area. 

Those apprehensive about sprains, especially ligamentous injuries, should contact Agile Urgent Care to learn more. We provide a full range of convenient, state-of-the-art, affordable urgent care services, including for sprains and other injuries.

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