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Sprains and Strains

When to see a doctor


Updated May 16, 2014

Do I need to see a doctor for my sprain or strain?
The National Institutes of Health offers the following guidelines for information about when to see a doctor for a sprain:


  • You have severe pain and cannot put any weight on the injured joint.


  • The area over the injured joint or next to it is very tender when you touch it.


  • The injured area looks crooked or has lumps and bumps (other than swelling) that you do not see on the uninjured joint.


  • You cannot move the injured joint.


  • You cannot walk more than four steps without significant pain.


  • Your limb buckles or gives way when you try to use the joint.


  • You have numbness in any part of the injured area.


  • You see redness or red streaks spreading out from the injury.


  • You injure an area that has been injured several times before.


  • You have pain, swelling, or redness over a bony part of your foot.


  • You are in doubt about the seriousness of the injury or how to care for it.


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