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Sprains versus Strains

My Doctor Finder
July 21, 2017

Have you ever tried to identify the difference between a sprain and strain? Although “sprain” may sound like “strain”, these two still have some key distinctions.

A sprain is an overextending or tearing of ligaments. Ligaments are the tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect two bones together in your joints. The ankle is the most common location for a sprain. Here are some of its common symptoms.

  • Bruising
  • Pain around the affected joint
  • Swelling
  • Limited flexibility
  • Difficulty using the joint’s full range of motion
  • Hearing or feeling a “pop” in your joint (at the time of the injury)

On the other hand, a strain is an overextending or tearing of muscles or tendons. Tendons are the fibrous tissues which connect muscles to bones. The lower back and the hamstring muscle in the back of our thighs are where strains commonly occur. Some of its symptoms are.

  • Muscle spasm
  • Pain around the affected joint
  • Swelling
  • Limited flexibility
  • Difficulty using the joint’s full range of motion

The symptoms of sprain and strain are quite alike because the injuries themselves are very similar. In a sprain, there may be bruising around the affected joint. Meanwhile in a strain, there may be spasms in the affected muscle.

Reference: Holland, K. (2016, December 5). Is It a Sprain or a Strain? Tips for Identification. Healthline. Retrieved from http://www.healthline.com/health/sprain-vs-strain.