Do you really know the difference between sprain or strain? Often this term used interchangeably. It is a difference between the two term. A sprain is a stretch and/or tear of ligament. A ligament is a band of fibrous tissue that connects two bones at a joint.
A few ligaments can be injured at the same time and how severe the injury depends on the extent of the tear (partial or complete tear of the ligament) and the number of ligaments involved.
A strain is the same injury to a muscle or a tendon. As there is usually only one tendon connecting a muscle to the bone, the extent of injury depends on whether it is merely an overstretch or whether there are complete or partial tears in the muscle or tendon.
What causes sprains and strains ?
A sprain usually results from a fall, sudden twist or blow to the body that foces a joint out of its normal position. Sprains usually occur when falling on an outstretched arm or twisting an ankle when landing awkwardly from height or twisting the knee with one foot planted on the ground.
Twisting or pulling of a muscle or tendon in an unusual posture, overworking the muscles with excessive activity or carrying an unusually heavy load causes strains.
For instance, neck pain on waking up is usually the result of straining the neck muscles due to abnormal posture maintained during sleep.
A chronic strain can result from overuse – prolonged, repetitive movements of the muscles and tendons.
What are sypmtoms of sprains and strains ?
The usual signs and symptoms would be pain, swelling and/or bruising and loss of ability to move the joint.
There are 3 grades of sprains :-
1) Grade 1 :- Involves a mild overstretching or slight tearing of a ligament, with no joint instability. A person is usually able to put weight on the affected joint.
2) Grade 2 :- Involves an incomplete tear of the ligament, where there is moderate pain, bruising and swelling, and the person finds it more difficult to put weight on the joint.
There is usually some loss of functions as well. An x-ray may be needed to rule out a fracture. Sometimes, an MRI is required to differentiate between partial or complete tear of the ligament.
3) Grade 3 :- Complete tears where the symptoms are severe and the person is unable to put weight on the joint.
A strain causes pain,limited movement, muscle spams and occasionally weakness. It may also look like a sprain. There is usually localised pain in the affected area and weakness when attempting to move it. Complete or severe partial tears usually cause a lot of pain and disability.