strains are among the most common injuries
in sports. Sprains and strains generally cause
swelling and pain,
and there may be bruises around the injured area.
Sprain. A sprain is
a stretching or tearing of ligaments. Ligaments
are tough bands of fibrous tissue that connect
one bone to another. They help to stabilize
joints, preventing excessive movement. Sprains
are frequently caused by rapid changes in
direction or by a collision. Common locations
for sprains are your ankles and knees.
Strain. A strain is
a stretching or tearing of muscle. This type of
injury often occurs when muscles suddenly and
powerfully contract - or when a muscle stretches
unusually far. People commonly call muscle
strains pulled muscles. Hamstring injuries are
among the most common strains.
Treatment depends on the severity of the injury.
Many times, self-care measures and over-the-counter
pain medications are all that you'll need.
Signs and symptoms
Sprains and strains vary in severity. Signs and symptoms depend on the
severity of the injury.
Sprains can cause rapid swelling. Generally, the greater the pain and
swelling, the more severe the injury.
Your ligament stretches excessively or tears slightly. The area is
somewhat painful, especially with movement. It's tender. There's not
a lot of swelling. You can put weight on the joint.
The fibers in your ligament tear, but they don't rupture completely.
The joint is tender, painful and difficult to move. The area is
swollen and may be discolored from bleeding in the area. You may
feel unsteady when you try to bear weight on your leg.
One or more ligaments tear completely. The area is painful. You
can't move your joint normally or put weight on it. If you try to
walk, your leg feels as if it will give way. The joint becomes very
swollen and also can be discolored. The injury may be difficult to
distinguish from a fracture or dislocation, which requires medical
care. You may need a brace to stabilize the joint or surgical repair
in certain ligament injuries.
Depending on the severity of the strain, signs and symptoms may include:
Pain and stiffness that occur with movement and may last a few days.
Partial muscle tears result in more extensive pain, swelling and
bruising. The pain may last one to three weeks.
The muscle is torn apart or ruptured. You may have significant
bleeding, swelling and bruising around the muscle. Your muscle may
not function at all, and you may need surgical repair if the muscle
has torn away completely from the bone.
Sprains and strains occur commonly, and most result in minor injuries.
muscle becomes strained or pulled — or may even tear — when it stretches
unusually far or abruptly. This type of injury often occurs when muscles
suddenly and powerfully contract. A muscle strain may occur when you
slip on the ice, run, jump, throw, lift a heavy object or lift in an
sprain occurs when you overextend or tear a ligament while severely
stressing a joint. You may sprain your knee or ankle when walking or
exercising on an uneven surface. A sprain also may occur when you land
awkwardly, either at the end of a jump or while pivoting during an
Sprains and strains
> next >