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Sprains Symptoms & Diagnosis


Symptoms include:

  • Pain immediately after the sprain—without treatment, the pain becomes worse over the next 24 hours
  • A "popping" sound
  • Local swelling, often within minutes
  • Bruising (black and blue)
  • Trouble moving the joint
  • Increased pain when putting pressure on the injured area


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and how the injury occurred. The doctor will also examine the injured joint for:

  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Damage to the ligament

Tests may include:

  • X-ray —a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body; in this case, to rule out other injuries (such as a small fracture)
  • MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body for determining recovery outcomes

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2023 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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