What’s the Difference Between Sprains and Strains?
May 25, 2016

Those who are physically active hurt themselves often. They may say they have a sprain or strain, but they really do not know which one. Both medical conditions are used misunderstood, but they are diverse. The ligament is a tissue that connects two bones together. It is made of fibrous materials. When you injure this tissue, it is sprained. If the tissues is stretched or torn, the official diagnosis will be a strain.

Which One Do You Have?

A person must understand the difference between the two to identify which medical condition they have. Though the terms are similar, they are dissimilar. Muscles and tendons connects the tissues to the bones in the body. When this area is compromised, a sprain occurs. A strain, on the other hand, is when the muscles and tissues are overstretched or torn. When considering the two injuries, more often than not a strain is to blame. These injuries often occur in the wrist and ankle areas.

Identifying A Sprain

Both bruising and tenderness are commonplace with an injury identified as a sprain. Another common sign of a sprain is not being able to function on the joint properly. People often feel a tear or hear a “pop” sound when this damage occurs. A harsh sprain is where the “popping” noise is for the most part commonly heard.

Using a Scale to Verify the Sprain’s Severity

Grade One

Medical professionals use a grading system to identify the brutality of a sprain. The mildest form is considered to be a grade one. With this type of injury, there is tearing and a slight bit of overstretching of the ligaments. Though the joint can still be stable and still be used, there is normally some pain and swelling involved. Bruising is not uncommon, but it will just be a slight bit. A grade one injury does not inhibit a person from walking, though it may be painful.

Grade Two

A moderate sprain is given the grade two label. In type two you see both partial tearing and bruising. They are commonplace with this type of injury. There is a great deal of swelling involved too. A person who has a grade two sprain will not be able to put much weight on the distressed area. Doctors will run a CT scan or X-ray to make sure there is no breakage, and also to verify the damage is caused by a sprain.

Grade Three

The most severe form of a sprain is a grade three. In this injury, the ligaments have been either ruptured, torn, or both. Pain is often unbearable at this level. Typically, a patient cannot put any weight on this grade of injury. After an x-ray reveals there is nothing broken, the area needs to be kept immobile to prevent any further damage. Due to the areas weakened state, there can be future damage to the compromised area.

Understanding Strains and Why They Are Not As Serious

A strain is an an acute condition, but they can become chronic too. A bodily, like lifting a heavy object, is typically to blame. A strain occurs after extended overuse. The most frequent types of strains occur in the backs or legs, specifically the hamstring area. Those who play contact sports like football or soccer find that they are at a greater risk for strains. If someone is involved in swimming or tennis, they can have a greater risk of strain to the forearm area. Tennis elbow is a type of strain that is common, as is golfer’s elbow.

A Strain Verses a Sprain – How To Know Which One You Have

Muscle spasms and limitations in the area are the hallmark signs of a sprain. A person should be able to still function, but they may have to deal with some localized swelling. Any movement in the area can cause the individual to be in excruciating pain. Sprains are known for causing debilitating pains.

Understanding The Strain Scale Severity

Strains, like sprains, are divided into three categories. A grade one strain is mild and will usually heal in a couple weeks. In this instance, only a few muscle fibers have been damaged. In a grade two strain, it is a reasonable type of strain where the muscle is injured but not ruptured. It takes about 3-6 weeks to heal. A grade three strain is the most severe. The throbbing is debilitating and it can months to heal.

These injuries do not require medical intervention unless the throbbing is severe. If you cant walk well on the affected area, or the throbbing pain is intolerable, then seek medical attention. In these cases, the physician will want to make sure it is not broken.