Sprains Vs. Strains

A sprain is an injury to a ligament, or the thick, tough tissue that connects the bones together, keeping the body in a normal alignment. By keeping the skeleton in line, ligaments help to avoid abnormal movements; however, when too much force is applied, the ligament typically suffers a sprain.

A strain is an injury to the muscles or the tendons that attach the muscles to the bones. When overstretched, the muscle may become injured or strained. Both injuries typically occur in or around a joint and mostly during a physical activity or sport. Commonly injured ligaments are in the ankle, knee, and wrist, while strains usually occur in the back, neck, groin, and hamstring.

While not all sprains and strains can be prevented, it is important to know if one occurs and whether it should be evaluated by a sports medicine doctor.

Athletes will need to see a specialist if:

  • They experience severe pain and cannot put any weight on the injured joint
  • The area surrounding the injured joint is tender to touch
  • The joint injured has bumps and lumps as well as swelling
  • They cannot move the joint
  • The limb buckles or gives way when trying to move
  • The injured area has been injured several times in the past
  • They have pain, swelling, or redness over the bony part of the foot

However, if the injury does not involve any of the symptoms listed above and the sprain or strain does not require a visit to a specialist, it can be treated using the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate) treatment method.

For more information on sprains and strains and the treatment options available, our dedicated sports medicine team is here for you and your athletes. Call (702) 731-4088 for our experts at Desert Orthopaedic Center