Sprains and strains are among the most common injuries in sports. Here are some facts about sprains and strains from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. A sprain is a stretch and/or tear of a ligament, the fibrous band of connective tissue that joins the end of one bone with another. Ligaments stabilize and support the body’s joints. For example, ligaments in the knee connect the upper leg with the lower leg, enabling people to walk and run. A strain, on the other hand, is an injury of a muscle and/or tendon. Tendons are fibrous cords of tissue that attach muscles to bone.
Sprains and Strains: What’s the Difference?
A sprain is caused by direct or indirect trauma (a fall, a blow to the body, etc.) that knocks a joint out of position, and overstretches, and, in severe cases, ruptures the supporting ligaments. Typically, this injury occurs when an individual lands on an outstretched arm; slides into a base; jumps up and lands on the side of the foot; or runs on an uneven surface. On the other hand, chronic strains are the result of overuse (prolonged, repetitive movement) of muscles and tendons. Professional and amateur athletes and the general public, as well, can sustain this injury. People at risk for the injury have a history of sprains and strains, are overweight, and are in poor physical condition.
While the intensity varies, pain, bruising, swelling, and inflammation are common to all three categories of sprains: mild, moderate, severe. Strains can have similar symptoms with typical indications including pain, muscle spasm, muscle weakness, swelling, inflammation, and cramping. Back strain is a frequently occurring type of strain. When the muscles that support the spine are twisted, pulled, or torn, the result is a back strain. Dr. Cosmas Leigh at Leigh Brain and Spine is skilled in identify and treating sprains and strains. Call today for an evaluation.