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Difference Between Sprain and Strain

sprainSprain vs Strain

Sprain refers to an injury caused to the ligament when stretched beyond normal capacity which may result in tearing at times. One of the common sprains is a twisted ankle. On the other hand a strain is a particular injury caused to a muscle or tendon. Strain occurs when the fibers of a muscle get torn due to over stress and over stretching. In an acute state in both the cases, an immediate result is immobilization which is at times only curable through surgical restoration.

Some of the typical cardinal signs and symptoms of a sprain are,

  • Swelling and soreness
  • Restricted pain in a particular area
  • Puffiness
  • Discomfort in movement and functioning
  • Loss of normal functioning of the limb
  • Decrease in elasticity of the ligaments

On the other hand, some of the specific symptoms of a strain are,

  • Stiffness and severe pain
  • Discoloration
  • Bruising and bizarre odors around the particular muscle that is strained

A sprain often results from vigorous exercises like hiking; running and partaking in sports like throw ball and basket ball. Often individuals may also step or fall on undulated surfaces causing an inward rolling of the foot. This leads to an outward stretch on the calcaenofibular and talofibular ligaments in the ankle. Other causes may be an awkward fall or car crash or some other vehicle accident. On the other hand, a strain, which is an injury to the muscles or tendons, occurs due to over pulling of the muscles or pulling of the muscle in an opposite direction while contracting causing eccentric contraction. Other than this a strain may also occur due to overstressing physical activities, repetitive movements, heavy weight lifting, etc.

The two common types of Sprain are,

  • Ankle Sprain
  • Wrist Sprain

Sprains, on the basis of severity can be categorized into 6 distinctive degrees, namely, 1st (a minor stretch), 2nd (tearing of a ligament), 3rd (rupture), 4th (breaking of ligament), 5th (breaking of all surrounding bones) and 6th degrees (complete breakage or amputation).

The common kinds of strains are,

  • Back Strain
  • Tendonitis
  • Hamstring Strains
  • Elbow Strains including Golfer’s Elbow and Tennis Elbow

Moreover, on the basis of the severity of the strain, it can further be categorized as a Grade I Strain, Grade II Strain and a Grade III Strain.

Summary:
1. Sprain is injury of the ligament while strain is injury of the muscle or tendon.
2. Sprain leads to discomfort in movement and swelling while strain results in discoloration, bruising and strange odors.
3. Common sprains include ankle and wrist sprain, common strains include Hamstring strains and tennis elbow.


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