People are often confused between sprains and strains, they doshare similar signs and symptoms, but involve different parts of the body.
A sprain is an over stretching or tearing of a ligament which is a tough band of fibrous tissue connecting two bones together stabilising the joint and preventing excessive movement.
A strain is when a tendon which
connects muscle to bone, or the muscle itself is over stretched or torn.
Treatment is initially the same for the first 48 - 72 hours, i.e. PRICE
- Protection of the injured part
- Rest from aggravating activities
- Ice in a cloth for 10 - 20 minutes every 2 hours
- Compression with an elastic bandage/tubigrip
- Elevation if possible to help prevent swelling
All but the most severe (rupture/complete tear of a tendon) can be treated by physiotherapy.
Symptoms include pain, swelling, limited movement, bruising, difficulty walking.
If there is severe pain over a bone or numbness then a fracture/break may have occurred and needs to be seen by a doctor or hospital.
Sprains and strains can occur from falls, sudden pivoting, contact in sport, throwing, lifting in an awkward position, prolonged repetitive movement amongst other things.
Sprains can occur with any joint, for example twisting
your knee, going over on your ankle, catching your finger, over extending your shoulder.
Strains can include tennis/golfers elbow, repetitive strain injury (RSI), Achilles tendinopathy, lower back pain, whiplash injuries.
Prevention or rehabilitation is best achieved with
stretching and strengthening exercises given to you by a physiotherapist. The best brace for your body are your own muscles.