People with grade II sprains or strains may often be referred to physical therapy. Crutches or splints may be used during the healing process to help maintain stability. Surgery may be required for Grade III sprains or strains as a greater amount of damage will often prevent adequate healing without surgery.
Moderate sprains and strains heal within two to four weeks, but it can take months to recover from severe injuries. Until recently, tearing the ligaments of the knee meant the end of an athlete's career. Improved surgical and rehabilitative techniques now offer the possibility of complete recovery. However, once a ligament has been sprained, it may not be as strong as it was before. A muscle that has been strained is also more susceptible to reinjury.
Sprains and strains can be prevented by warming up before exercising, using proper form when performing activities and conditioning, being careful not to exercise past the point of fatigue, and taping or bracing certain joints to protect them from injury.
Benjamin, Ben. Listen to Your Pain. New York: Penguin, 1984.
Burton Goldberg Group. "Sprains." In Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide, edited by James Strohecker. Puyallup, WA: Future Medicine Publishing, 1994.