Grade Three Sprains

by Sam Malone

Ligaments are tough fibrous bands of tissue that connect the bones together and are responsible for stability and movement. An injury to a ligament that causes it to be stretched beyond its normal range of motion is known as a sprain. Sprains are classified into three types depending on the severity of the injury and the symptoms. Grade I and Grade II types of sprains cause mild to moderate pain and swelling and usually respond to treatments such as icing and moist heat therapy. Movement is restricted only for a short while and recovery takes place within a few days or weeks. Grade III sprains however cause severe pain and swelling. Movements may be restricted for weeks and the rehabilitation process takes much longer. In some cases, where the ligament is completely torn, surgery may be required as well. Let's look at some of the common grade III sprains.

Grade III Ankle Sprain

When you twist your foot sideways suddenly it can result in a sprained ankle. This can happen when playing a sport, running or slipping and falling awkwardly. All it takes is one awkward step and the entire weight of your body can come crashing down on your ankle and foot. Sprained ankles are one of the most common injuries and can be broadly categorized into inversion ankle sprains and eversion ankle sprains. In the first type, the foot is inverted inwards and the outer ligaments get overstretched and torn. In eversion ankle sprains, the foot twists outwards and pulls on the inner ligaments. Grade III sprains of either type involve a complete tear of the ligaments and cause symptoms such as severe pain, swelling, bruising and difficulty when walking.

Grade III High Ankle Sprains

High ankle sprains are a type of injury which is common in athletes or sportspeople. The ligaments around and above the ankle joint are injured and completely torn in a Grade III high ankle sprain. This type of sprain could keep a person off the playing field for months, as the rehabilitation process is long and arduous. Since the injury is higher up on the leg, recovery takes longer and the ligaments need to be completely healed before any activity can be tolerated.

Grade 3 Shoulder Sprains

The shoulder ligaments that span inside and around the shoulder joint can be injured or overstretched as a result of an accident where the shoulder absorbs the force of a fall or a collision. People who play high-velocity sports such as skiing or contact sports such as football or wrestling are prone to such types of injuries. Shoulder sprains commonly occur around the acromioclavicular joint (near the collarbone and shoulder blades). Such grade III shoulder sprains are the result of a complete tear in the acromioclavicular ligament and the coracoclavicular ligament. In these cases, the collarbone is often separated resulting in severe pain and immobility. Another less common type of shoulder sprain is the sternoclavicular sprain. This is the area between the collarbone and the breastbone. Grade III sternoclavicular sprains cause displacement of the shoulder and possible long-term deformity. Rehabilitation of either type of shoulder sprain requires intensive physiotherapy and may take between three to five months for complete recovery.

Grade III Wrist Sprains

Wrist sprains are a common type of injury. These occur when the wrist is unnaturally bent or stretched and the ligaments surrounding the wrist joint tear. Grade III wrist sprains may require surgical treatment as the ligament is completely torn and may also involve a fracture as the ligament tears away from the bone. Other symptoms of grade III wrist sprains include severe pain, swelling, bruising, and immobility of the wrist.

Treatment for any type of sprain involves the use of icing and moist heat therapy, resting and elevating the injured area and the use of a compression wrap to prevent swelling. Physiotherapy and stretching exercises are also necessary to rehabilitate the muscles and return the range of motion back to normal.

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