These two terms are often referred to and used interchangeably to describe an injury that they have sustained. They are actually two different things.
What is the difference between a strain and a sprain?
Strain: A strain is sustained when a muscle or tendon is stretched too far, too fast and without enough warmup. Tendons are cords of tissue that are used to connect bone to muscle.
Sprain: A sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments. Ligaments are the fibrous tissue bands that connect two separate bones together in a joint.
The Difference: Though the symptoms are often the same – Pain, swelling, limited motion, limited flexibility, Sprains often leave a bruise of broken blood vessels whereas a strain does not and can cause muscle spasms.
How Strains and Sprains happen:
Our bodies are amazing, but they are still prone to injury and can sustain damage.
There are tons of different ways that injury can occur – Accidents may happen during exercise or sports, through slip and fall incidents, if you overexert yourself if you lift too heavy of an object, or even through chronic repetitive motions. Even sitting in awkward positions can sometimes do it.
The most commonly affected areas are the back, knees, wrists, ankles, and thumbs. If it has a bending joint? You can strain or sprain it.
Injuries such as these can be easily diagnosed by your doctor with a manual exam. No X-rays are needed unless a break is suspected.
You can limit the chance of injury by keeping yourself in good physical shape. This doesn’t mean you need to be a gym rat, but stretching and regular exercise can help keep your body strong. Never exercise if you are too tired that day to do exercises using proper form. Irregular movements can cause unwanted injuries. Wear proper foot attire especially if working out outdoors, traction and avoiding slips is key.
Suggestions for Sprains and Strains
#1 Time Heals All Wounds. Rest while you allow your body to heal.
#2 Use Compression – Pressure can help to reduce swelling. Wrap the afflicted area in medical tape or compression bandages.
#3 Rest and Elevate – Sit and try to keep the injury above your heart.
#4 Ice – Wrap in a paper towel or cloth. Leave ice on for 5 to 10 minutes and repeat hourly. Never apply ice directly to your skin.
Both strains and sprains will heal themselves with no specific medical care or attention needed, though the severity of the injury will affect how long it will take for you to be back on the go.
If the pain from your injury doesn’t seem to lessen over time or your range of motion doesn’t seem to be returning, make sure to schedule an appointment to see your doctor.
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Chiropractic care is a safe, alternative treatment when applied appropriately. Chiropractic treatments help in dealing with the symptoms of many conditions. Are you going to wait for your symptoms to be felt, or are you going to prevent them as soon as possible?
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