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What is the Difference Between Sprains and Strains?

Dr. Sharmishtha Ganguly 92% (68 ratings)
Bachelor of Physiotherapy
Physiotherapist, Kolkata  •  4 years experience
What is the Difference Between Sprains and Strains?

A sprain refers to a break or a tear in any of the ligaments of your body. A ligament is a band consisting of tissues that connect the bones at any given joint in our body.

A strain on the other hand refers to a tear or a break in the entire muscle itself or a tendon (the band of tissues that connect the muscle to the bones).

Occurrence: Sprains usually take place due to unforeseen incidents like falls, accidents, and such other things that forces the body part to go out of its normal position. The most common types of sprains that people suffer from are ankle sprains which affect about 25,000 people every day on a worldwide basis.Strains usually happen when you twist a whole muscle or a tendon. This condition most commonly occurs in cases of sportspersons who are engaged in contact sports like hockey, football, rugby, and such others.

Symptoms :The identification signs of sprains and strains are mostly very similar, which are listed below:

  1. Pain and discomfort in the joints
  2. Visible swelling or inflammation seen on the joints
  3. Bruising of the affected area
  4. Tenderness and softness of the affected joint

The overall intensity of the above mentioned symptoms might differ basis on the severity of the condition that is directly proportional to the nature of injury that you have faced. Some pains are so light that it may not affect your daily routine at all, whereas some pains are so intense, that you might not be able to move your affected joint at all.

Treatment: Some of the common methods to cure a sprain or a strain are listed below:

  1. Rest the area which is affected
  2. Apply ice bags or cold compress to soothe the pain
  3. Compress the affected joint using a compression tape
  4. Place the affected joint on an elevated area to speed up the healing process

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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