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Sprains and Strains General principles

 Are terms that mean broadly the same thing, referring to musculoskeletal (Muscle, tendons, bones, joints) injury.  

To be more precise, sprains refer to the stretch or tear of a ligament, the band of connective tissues that joins the end of one bone with another. Sprains are typically caused by acute trauma such as a fall or blow to the body that knocks a joint out of position and, in the worst case, ruptures the supporting ligaments. Problems can also develop overlong periods with repetitive overloading, often as a result of poor biomechanics or training and technique faults. Sprains can range from first degree (minimally stretched ligament) to third degree (a complete tear). Areas of the body most vulnerable to sprains are ankles, knees, and wrists. Signs of a sprain include varying degrees of tenderness or pain; bruising; inflammation; swelling; inability to move a limb or joint; or joint looseness, laxity, or instability.

A strain is a twist, pull, or tear of a muscle or tendon, a cord of tissue connecting muscle to bone. It is frequently an acute, noncontact injury that results from overstretching or overcontraction but can also be the result of repetitive overloading over long periods of time. Symptoms of a strain include pain, muscle spasm, and loss of strength. While it's hard to tell the difference between mild and moderate strains, severe strains not treated professionally can cause damage and loss of function.



  2008 Worthing Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic: Chartered Physiotherapists in Worthing, West Sussex