Sprains & Strains
A sprain describes an injury to a ligament that connects two bones. A ligament can stretch or tear if the bones in a joint move out of position from a force, such as a fall or direct contact with another person during sports. For example, an ankle or wrist sprain can result from a fall.
A strain describes an injury to a muscle or tendon. Muscles and tendons can be injured from overuse, overstretching, repetitive motions, sports injury, or a direct force, such as from being hit. For example, back strain may occur in people who perform repetitive heavy lifting.
A sprain causes pain, bruising, and swelling. You may hear or feel a pop when the injury occurs. A severe sprain causes intense pain at the time of injury, followed by difficulty moving a joint.
A strain causes muscle pain, weakness, cramping, spasm, or swelling. Moderate to severe sprains can result in muscle tearing.
Am I at Risk
You may be at risk for strains and strains if:
• Your body is deconditioned or overweight
• You participate in sports, dance, or other challenging physical activities
• Your job duties entail repetitive movements
• You have experienced a strain or sprain before
• You are at-risk for falls