Almost everyone has experienced at least a minor sprain or strain in their lives. However, most people cannot tell the difference between the two. While they may sound similar, there is a difference between the two injuries.
Let’s take a look at what sprains and strains are and what the difference between them is.
A sprain is an injury to a ligament, which connects your bones at a joint. With a sprain, your ligament is overstretched beyond its capacity. As a result, you can develop microinjuries in the ligament. A sprain is considered mild if there are microtears but the ligament itself is in one piece. However, a severe sprain results in a partial or complete tear, which means the ligament has torn into pieces.
This type of injury is very common among athletes. When playing a sport, it’s easy to fall, collide with someone, or get tackled. As a result, your legs and arms get moved, twisted, pushed, and pulled in all directions. When this happens, the ligaments in your body can overstretch with a blink of an eye. A very common example of this injury is a sprained ankle.
Common symptoms of a sprain are pain, redness, swelling, and the inability to move the affected part of the body. You may hear a popping noise when you get a moderate to severe sprain. If the sprain is significant, you may be unable to put weight on the affected body part.
Mild sprains are treated with ice, rest, compression, and inclination. You can take painkillers to control pain symptoms. Severe ligament sprains may require surgery for correction. In the procedure, the torn pieces of the ligament are fixed.
A strain is a muscle or tendon injury. A tendon is a thick band of tissue that connects muscles to bones. A strain can develop from a direct blow to the area, overexertion, or repetitive movements without proper conditioning and rest. When you pull a muscle, it means you have strained yourself. The severity of a strain depends on how badly the tendon or muscle is affected. A complete tear of a tendon is classified as a severe injury.
A strain usually happens in the back or in the hamstring muscles. Athletes are at high risk of straining themselves when playing basketball, soccer, or football. Symptoms of a strain include pain, swelling, weakness, muscle spasms, and cramping in the area.
Treating a severely injured muscle or tendon cannot be done with at-home treatments and requires a rehabilitation program. In some cases, an orthopedic surgeon may need to make surgical repairs to your affected muscle and tendon, and you will need to stay in bed and refrain from engaging in activities that caused your injury for several weeks.
Treatment for Sprains and Strains in Austin, Texas
At All-Star Orthopedics, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons received fellowship-training in sports medicine, which means we can treat all manners of injuries that result from playing sports or participating in other physical activities.
We’ve proudly served the Austin community for over 20 years. To schedule a consultation, call (512) 346-4933 or request an appointment now. Our staff looks forward to meeting you in our Austin office.