Why Do Sprains Take So Long to Heal

You may have noticed that joint injuries and sprains take much longer to heal than minor muscle strains.  Sprains and strains are common injuries.  A sprain is an injury of a ligament, whereas a strain is an injury of a muscle.  Muscle strains that don’t involve tearing often heal quickly with few lasting effects.  However, sprains take much longer to heal and are can be aggravated during the healing process.  

Muscles have a good blood supply in order to provide oxygen and nutrition for muscle contractions.  Therefore, when muscles are injured they have a good blood supply to bring nutrients and remove wastes during the healing process.

Ligaments don’t contract to produce joint movement and normally don’t have a high need for nutrition or waste removal.  Therefore, ligaments have a poor blood supply compared to muscles and take much longer to heal.

Light exercise including walking can help to improve healing with ligament injuries.   Exercise after sprains should be done when swelling has subsided and to a level that does not aggravate symptoms.  Gentle movement of a joint after a sprain helps to prevent adhesions and joint restriction.  Whiplash after an auto accident is a complex condition that involves sprains to multiple ligaments at multiple levels of the spine in the neck.  If you have pain and/or other symptoms, visit a chiropractic clinic that specialize in treating auto injuries as soon as possible.