Sprains and strains are a result of minor trauma to muscles, ligaments, and/or tendons. These are recognized by pain, immediate swelling in the area, and may be accompanied by discoloration of the site.
Difference between Sprains and Strains
A sprain is a stretching or tearing injury to one or more ligaments. The severity depends upon the extent of injury or tear in the ligament. Is it partially or completely torn? How many ligaments are involved? Are other soft tissues around the site injured? The most frequently sprained ligaments are in the ankles, knees and wrists.
A strain is an injury to either a muscle or a tendon caused by overuse, force, or stretching. Depending on the severity of the injury, a strain may be a simple over-stretch of the muscle or tendon, or it can result in a partial or complete tear.
Two common sites for strains are the back and the hamstring (muscle located in the back of the thigh). Contact sports such as soccer, football, hockey, boxing, and wrestling, put people at a higher risk for strains. Long distance runners experience strains in multiple muscles in their legs. Tennis, rowing, golf, and other sports that require extensive gripping can increase the risk of hand and forearm strains. Elbow strains can occur in people who participate in racquet sports, throwing, and contact sports.