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  • Category: Orthopedics

    What is the difference between a strain and a sprain?

    Wondering about the difference in the symptoms of sprains and strains after an injury? Get opinion about orthopedic related troubles over here.

    How does a sprain differ from a strain? Are the symptoms different for strains and sprains? How to know when it is a sprain or just a strain?
  • Answers

    3 Answers found.
  • Strain is to force some part of your body or generally put on more effort. When you do some task with great effort going against your support for it.
    An example for understanding is "I strained to walk with my leg fractured".

    Sprain is a twist in any joint of the body usually the ankle or wrist. An example for understanding is "I had a sprain in my leg and could not walk".

    In simple words strain is a force and sprain is an injury

  • How does a sprain differ from a strain?
    Sprain and strain are both common injuries which may occur to any athletic person but both are totally two different terms. Strain is a injury of the skeletal muscle such as tendon injury whereas sprain is the tear/ rapture or over-stretch of the ligaments (ligament is a consecutive tissues which joins two bones together). Both are equally painful but sprain is more painful than strain.

    Are the symptoms different for strains and sprains?
    When a direct force hits your skeletal muscles, strain is caused such as a cricket ball directly hitting your thigh. The main symptoms of strain are stiff pain, inflammation, muscle weakness, swelling etc. The whole affected area becomes red in colour due to internal bleeding. Sprain can occur anytime during play/ exercise due to over stretching of the ligaments. Usually the common symptoms of sprain is intensive swelling and inflammation in the joint area where the ligaments is raptured/ over-stretched. If the sprain is severe, the smooth functioning of the joint becomes non-fuctional.

    How to know when it is a sprain or just a strain?
    Strain can occurs also anywhere in the skeletal muscle where it got a direct trauma/ force whereas sprain usually occurs in joint areas. Strain can occur during any activities but sprain is common in volleyball, football, basketball etc.

    Ice treatment along with rest and compression will helps in reducing the pain of both the injuries when they are mild. But if it is severe, then orthopedic surgery becomes necessary in both cases.

    "When winter comes, can spring be far behind"

    1. By definition: Our ligament generally connects one bone to another. When a ligament is stretched or torn is called as sprain. Whereas strain is injury of muscle or tendon. Tendons are fibrous cords of tissue that attach muscles to bone. Muscle is a bundle of fibrous tissue helps to produce movement and to maintain the location of parts of human body. Tendon which is flexible but inelastic in nature attaches muscle to a bone.
    2. By cause: Sprain is generally caused by direct or indirect blow to the body resulting ligament rupture, a joint instability etc. But strain is caused normally due to over-usages or more shrinkage of muscles or tendons.
    3. By symptoms:
      1. In sprain, injured feels excruciating shock while impact comes whereas it is comparatively very mild for strain.
      2. The sufferer usually feels a pop in the joint in case of sprain whereas, in strain, muscle is felt as stiff and weighty.
    4. By result: As ligament losses for sprain, makes the joint nonfunctional whereas muscle function might be lost in strain.
    Hope you have got a clear idea to distinguish sprain and strain from the above.

    Editor, ISC

    "Respect should be earned instead of demanding."

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