Sprains and strains

Sprains and strains are very common injuries that affect muscles and ligaments (strong bands of tissue around joints that connect one bone to another). They often occur if you change direction or speed suddenly, fall and land awkwardly, or collide with an object or person, such as when playing sports.

A sprainmeans one or more of your ligaments have stretched, twisted or torn. A strain means muscle fibres have stretched or torn.

As well as pain, a sprain or strain can cause swelling, bruising and tenderness, and may result in you being unable to put weight on your foot.

Most sprains and strains can be managed at home using PRICE therapy (protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation) and painkillers.

It causes suddenbouts ofseverepain, redness, swelling and warmthin affected joints, even when you'reresting.

These attacks usually last a few days at a time and most oftenaffect the big toe joint. It can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between gout and a severely inflamed bunion (see below).

The pain caused by gout can usually be treated using ice packs and by taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) painkillers. You may also need additional treatment to prevent further episodes.

They canbe painful if you put weight on them when you stand up or walk.

Verrucas are fairly easy to identify. They look like small, flatwhite circles of skin that often haveblack dots in the centre.

Most verrucas will often eventually clear up by themselves, but this can take a long time. There are over-the-counter verruca creams, gels and plasters that may help.

Wearing comfortable, well-fitting shoes can help stop them returning. The big toe points towards the other toes and the big toe joint sticks out, forminga bony lump.

Bunions can get worse if they're left untreated, so it's best to see a GP for advice. Non-surgical treatments are usually tried first, including wearing comfortable and wide shoes, orthotics (insoles), painkillers and bunion pads. Corrective surgery may sometimes be necessary.

It can also be painfulif pressure is placed on the toe or the toebecomes infected.

Cutting your toenails straight across and gently pushing the skin away from the nail using a cotton bud may help improve an ingrowing toenail. In some cases, a procedure to remove part or all of the affected nail may be necessary.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018