Many times, these terms are used almost interchangeably, as on the surface and to the untrained eye that appear quite similar in their causes, appearance, and effects.
However, upon closer examination, these two injuries do share a number of the same aspects, but are in fact totally different conditions.
Let's look at the two different injuries.
- A strain is a specific type of physical harm that results in a tear in the fibers of a muscle or tendon, often caused by severe or even minor over-stretching.
While most people immediately think that only athletes or others involved in similar regular physical activities are the only ones that can endure a sprained muscle, the fact of the matter is that strains can happen to anyone, at any time, and does not have to always be caused by major trauma.
People simply walking in a grocery store aisle and slip on the wet floor can suffer devastating strains, or innocent victims of car accidents can easily strain the muscles in their neck, back, and arms during an incident.
Strains result in pain while moving, discoloration or bruising of the tissues around the affected area, and should be treated immediately in order to prevent further damage and increased pain.
- A sprain, on the other hand, is damage to a ligament in a joint.
Ligaments are fibers that connect bones to other bones, and allow them to move free and function properly.
An injury to those tissues can be catastrophically painful and debilitating, because the ligaments are so strong and taught that in order for them to suffer injury requires significant outside force.
If a ligament tears entirely, treatment of these afflictions can require extensive rehabilitation, medication, and in extreme cases, even reconstructive surgery.
Places like toes, fingers, knees, wrists and ankles are some of the most frequently seen ligament sprains.
Professional athletes are often victims of these types of harms, because they have to push their bodies to the ultimate limits in their attempts to succeed.
However, even regular people in everyday situations can suffer sprains.
Car accidents, assaults, bike injuries and slip and falls often result in trauma to the ligaments, and the people who endure these events and their consequences need to know that they have the right to seek financial compensation for the medical costs they accrue due to rehabilitation, medication, hospital stays or even surgery.
Understanding the difference between strains and sprains can be difficult, but if you have questions about your health and safety you should always consult your medical professional about your situation.
If your injury was caused by the negligence or irresponsibility of someone else, you may be entitled to seek financial compensation for the pain and suffering of your strain or sprain.