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What is the Difference Between A Sprain & A Strain?

A sprain is a tearing or stretching of ligaments - these ligaments are tough bands of fibrous tissues that connect your bones to your joints. Your ankle is the most common location for a sprain, and initial treatment includes rest, ice, elevation, and compression.


The Difference Between a Sprain and a Strain: 

The soft tissues in your body include tendons, muscles, and ligaments - these help your body move, but are not a direct part of your bones. So any sprain or strain that occurs is considered as a soft tissue injury. However: 


  • A sprain is an injury to your ligament.
  • A strain is an injury to your tendon tissue or muscle tissue.


Your muscles' primary purpose is to help your body move, providing support to bones on both sides of the joint. This way, when the muscles contract your joints move using their range of motion. 


You may not know that the muscle you feel under your skin is made up using smaller bundles of muscle fibres called fascicles, which are made up of muscle fibres linked in a way that allows them to slide back and forth. 


Sliding alongside each other enables the muscle fibres to shorten, and your muscles contract and move your joint. Naturally, then your muscle relaxes, the muscle fibres automatically return to their resting state. 


What Causes A Strain or Sprain?

A strain or sprain occurs when your body goes through intensive physical stress. Commonly under high-pressure situations, you are more likely to lose your focus and make a mistake. When you start to push your body, you lose a little control over your movements; forcing your joints and muscles to perform movements that they are not prepared for, causing a stressful accident can cause damage your ligament fibres, tendons, and/or muscles. 


Sprains usually happen when you fall, twist, or hit your body with some force. The most common type of sprain is a sprained ankle. According to studies, more than 25000 individuals sprain their ankles daily, followed by wrist and thumb sprains commonly associated with sports injuries. 


Strains usually happen during contact sports such as hockey, football, and boxing. However, it can happen even when playing non-contact sports such as golf, tennis, and/or rowing. Practising the same movement over and over again can cause an overuse strain on your body. It doesn't matter if you are working out, working at home, or just spinning the bottle for fun. Unfortunately, a strain can happen at any time and requires special care. 


Common Signs of Sprain & Strain: 


  • Inflammation
  • Bruising
  • Pain


The only way you can tell a sprain, and a strain apart is by understanding their root involvement in your body. Remember that every dot in your body exists for a reason and is connected to different aspects to create a healthy working system collectively. 



Yours in self-care,

Adrian Wilk

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