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Sprains & Strains

What is a sprain?

Sprains are one of the most common injuries treated by Benchmark Urgent & Family Care. They can have many causes, but usually result from a twist, fall, or sudden jolt to a joint, which damages the ligament—the tissue that holds two joints together. It is important to have your injury properly examined by the Benchmark Urgent & Family Care clinicians to rule out other possible injuries, and to determine your best course of treatment.

Signs of a Sprain

If a sprained ankle, knee, foot, arm, or other joint is suspected, your Benchmark Urgent & Family Care clinician will check the area for bruising, swelling, pain, and stiffness. Your symptoms will determine the sprain grade.

Grade of Sprain

Sprains are graded by the severity of the symptoms:

  • Grade I: This least-serious sprain grade involves some stretching and tearing of the ligament, with mild tenderness, stiffness, and swelling. Joint movement may cause only minor pain.
  • Grade II: Grade II sprains involve an incomplete tearing of the ligament. Pain and swelling will be moderate, and use of the joint may be painful.
  • Grade III: Grade III sprains result from a complete tear in one or more ligaments. Bruising and swelling can be severe, and use of the joint will be nearly impossible. The joint may also feel wobbly.

How to Treat a Sprain

Treatment for sprains and strains is essentially the same. Your Benchmark Urgent & Family Care clinician may recommend:

  • Resting the injured area
  • Elevating the joint, such as placing a sprained arm or ankle on a pillow
  • Applying ice with a barrier cloth, 4 to 8 times per day
  • Use of specially designed compression bandages
  • Medication for pain and swelling
  • Use of a cane or crutches during sprained foot, knee, or ankle treatment

Common Types of Sprains

Whether you show symptoms of a sprained ankle, sprained arm, sprained foot, sprained wrist, or muscle sprain the Benchmark Urgent & Family Care team will provide the care you need for a quick recovery—and without the long wait or expense of an ER visit.


Strains involve muscles and tendons, as opposed to ligaments. Treatment is the same.