Often the terms sprains and strains are used interchangeably, but this shouldn’t be the case! The two mean very different things and in medical lingo it’s very important to get these right.
It’s difficult to confuse the two, however, once you understand the difference between them…
A sprain is when damage has been sustained to a ligamentthat supports a joint. Any ligament damage is graded as a sprain. If you’ve rolled your ankle and damaged the ligaments then you’ve sprained the ligaments in your ankle.
Often, you’ll also strain some of the supporting muscles when this happens.
A strain is when damage occurs to a muscle. A pull or an overstretch, is technically referred to as a strain, and is also graded as such. Muscles can microtear, tear and even rupture, and these are all categorised as different grades of a strain.
So, there you have it. Nice and easy. A sprain occurs to a ligament, whilst a strain occurs to a muscle.
At Kinetic Clinics, our Sports Therapists are trained to be able to assess and diagnose your injuries as well as treat them. We can tell the difference between a sprain and strain by doing our testing and can even give you an idea of which structures specifically you may have injured. Undiagnosed and untreated sprains and strains will only get worse with time and make your joints and muscles weaker, so don’t leave it too long to get it assessed and looked at by one of our team.