Sprains and strains are both common injuries, however understanding the difference between the two can be difficult.
A sprain is a stretch and/or tear of a ligament (a band of fibrous tissue that connects two or more bones at a joint). One or more ligaments can be injured at the same time. The severity of the injury will depend on the extent of injury (whether a tear is partial or complete) and the number of ligaments involved.
A strain is an injury to either a muscle or a tendon (fibrous cords of tissue that connect muscle to bone). Depending on the severity of the injury, a strain may be a simple overstretch of the muscle or tendon, or it can result from a partial or complete tear.
A sprain can result from a fall, a sudden twist, or a blow to the body that forces a joint out of its normal position and stretches or tears the ligament supporting that joint while a strain is caused by twisting or pulling a muscle or tendon. More >
Although the symptoms of sprains and strains can be similar, there are differences between the two that help to diagnosis the issue. More >
Treatments for sprains and strains are similar and can be thought of as having two stages. The goal during the first stage is to reduce swelling and pain. More >
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease (NIAMS)
National Institutes of Health www.niams.nih.gov