You are entitled to workers comp for a sprained ankle and other sprains involving a ligament and muscle strains. There are many types of workplace injuries, here we discuss strains and sprains which, while similar in nature, are two very different conditions. They can occur independently of one another or concurrently and are a valid workplace complaint.
What is a sprain?
A sprain is an injury involving a ligament. Ligaments are the tough, rubbery tissue that connects bones. Sprain injuries, then, affect joints. The two most common types of sprains involve wrists and ankles.
There are three classifications for sprain severity. They include:
- Grade I Sprain (Mild): This involves the overstretching or slight tearing of ligaments and doesn’t result in joint instability. There is little evidence of injury and the injured person is not functionally affected.
- Grade II Sprain (Moderate): This involves a partial ligament tear and produces bruising, some pain and some swelling. Some loss of function is experienced, and putting weight or stress on the affected joint is difficult.
- Grade III Sprain (Severe): This involves a complete tear or rupture of the affected ligament(s). There is typically severe pain, bruising, and swelling. Often immobilization and surgery are called for. Also common is the risk of future sprains in the affected area.
When experiencing a sprain, you may feel a pop or tear and have a temporary loss of function in that joint.
What is a strain?
A strain is a twist, pull or tear to a muscle, the tissue that facilitates bodily movement, or a tendon, the denser tissue that anchors muscles to various points of the human skeleton. The two most common areas of strain are back and hamstring muscles.
Unlike with the sprain, strains have two types. Chronic strains are a repetition injury; they occur when a muscle or tendon is overused and/or insufficiently rested between uses. Acute strains occur when there is a direct blow to the body, the tissue is overstretched, or is contracted an excessive amount.
Like the sprain, the strain has three classifications:
- Grade I Strain (Mild): Few muscle fibers are damaged. Healing occurs within two to three weeks.
- Grade II Strain (Moderate): There is more extensive damage to muscle fibers, but the muscle is not ruptured completely. Healing takes three to six weeks.
- Grade III Strain (Severe): This involves a complete rupture of a muscle. Most typically surgery is called for and healing can take upwards of three months.
Because both sprains and strains can be tricky injuries, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and be evaluated thoroughly if either of them occurs to you in the workplace. Neglecting a severe sprain or strain could cause long-term complications that you can’t foresee. Workers comp for a sprained ankle or a back strain are quite common in the workplace and as Atlanta injury lawyers we see them with regularity in Georgia. If you are unsure if your workplace injury calls for treatment by a physician or entitles you to benefits, please contact our offices for consultation. Better safe than sorry!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.