orthopedics, sports medicine

What’s the difference between a sprain and a strain?

We’ve all heard the term sprain, such as in a sprained ankle. But what does it mean?

A sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments, the fibrous tissue that connects bones and joints. The most common sprains occur in the ankle, thumb, wrist and knee.  Symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, and being unable to move your joint. You might feel a pop or tear when the injury happens.

By contrast, a strain is a stretched or torn muscle or tendon. Tendons are tissues that connect muscle to bone. Twisting or pulling these tissues can cause a strain. Strains can happen suddenly or develop over time. Back and hamstring muscle strains are common. Many people get strains playing sports. Symptoms include pain, muscle spasms, swelling, and trouble moving the muscle.

Signature Medical Group orthopedic specialists are adept at treating sprains and strains. Treatment for both usually involves resting the injured area, icing it, wearing a bandage or device that compresses the area, and medicines.

If you’re having pain in your joints, call today to make an appointment with a Signature Medical Group orthopedic specialist. We’ll get you back on track as quickly as possible.