A sprain is what occurs when the ligaments that surround a joint are stretched or torn due to an awkward movement or excessive stress. Typical symptoms of a sprain include significant pain along with inflammation, stiffness and bruising of the skin. Sprains are primarily treated with the “RICE” method – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. If you are uncertain whether you have a fracture or a sprain of a major joint, it’s best to seek immediate medical attention. Likewise, if your joint appears to be dislocated or makes popping sounds following an injury, immediate attention is needed. In cases where a sprain is suspected, it’s important to call your physician if the inflammation does not dissipate within 48 hours, if severe pain persists for weeks, or if there is any sign of an infection (such as a fever or skin redness).