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When should you see the doctor about a sprain or strain?

ANSWER

See a doctor right away if:

  • The pain and swelling don’t start to ease within 24 to 72 hours.
  • You can't bear weight.
  • Your symptoms get worse.

SOURCES:

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Bureau of Labor Statistics.

John Martinez, MD, sports medicine specialist, team physician, USA Triathlon, San Diego.

C. Thomas Vangsness Jr., MD, professor of orthopedics, chief of the sports medicine service, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Ralph Gambardella, MD, clinical associate professor of orthopedics, University of Southern California; orthopedist, Los Angeles Dodgers.

David Geier, MD, orthopedic surgeon, director, MUSC Sports Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Familydoc.org.

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on November 16, 2016

SOURCES:

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Bureau of Labor Statistics.

John Martinez, MD, sports medicine specialist, team physician, USA Triathlon, San Diego.

C. Thomas Vangsness Jr., MD, professor of orthopedics, chief of the sports medicine service, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Ralph Gambardella, MD, clinical associate professor of orthopedics, University of Southern California; orthopedist, Los Angeles Dodgers.

David Geier, MD, orthopedic surgeon, director, MUSC Sports Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Familydoc.org.

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on November 16, 2016

NEXT QUESTION:

How long should you use RICE therapy to treat a sprain or strain?

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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