Sprains and Strains

Although often used interchangeably there is an actual difference between a Sprain & a Strain. So firstly lets make some matters clear, a muscle attaches to a bone via a tendon, where as ligaments connect bones to bone.
When a tendon or torn muscle is stretched, it is referred to as a Strain. When a ligament is over stretched or torn, this is called a Sprain.
Sprains are likely to occur if a person gets hit with an substantial force (rugby tackle) or the joint is abnormally twisted in the case of an awkward fall. Most common sprains are felt in wrists, knees and of course the ankles. The reason for Strains may either be development of the problem over some time, lack of stretching or excessive loading of a particular muscle and commonly occur in the hamstrings and calf muscles.

Common causes & symptoms of sprains: – When a ligament is stretched beyond its normal elastic limit , the individual may report inflammatory symptoms of pain, bruising, swellings, joint laxity and possible joint stiffness. Typical activities that may cause a sprain include walking, contact sports and skiing.

Common causes & symptoms of strains: – If a muscle gets overstretched similarly the symptoms include swelling, bruising, pain and muscle spasms in the affected muscles. If the severity is greater, they patient may complain about loss of function in that (strength and ROM ). Typical activities resulting to a strain include football injuries.

Treatment:-
Both conditions are treated relatively similarly depending on the stage of the condition (aacute vs chronic):

Heat/ ICE
Taping/ Bracing: to support the joint (sprains) and facililate/ reduce muscle activity (strains))
Massage: to encourage healing nd reduce swelling
Electrotherapy: to promote healing
Exercise therapy: to strengthen muscles affcted directly by the strain or those supporting the joint to eleviate stress of a a sprained ligament
Lifestyle advice
Medical management: Adeuate pain relief and NSAIDs

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