A sprain is an injury to the tough ropey fibers (ligaments) that connect bone to bone. Also, an injury may cause both a sprain and a fracture in the same area.
Sprains are ranked by degree of severity. Symptoms of a sprain may be mild or severe and may sometimes be mistaken for a broken bone (fracture).
Treatment for a sprain includes rest (immobilization), ice, compression, and elevation. While a minor sprain will often heal well with home treatment, a moderate to severe sprain may require medical evaluation and treatment with a cast or splint, physical therapy, medicine, or surgery. Recovery time for a sprain varies depending on a person's age and health and the location and severity of the sprain.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise