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About Sprains and Strains
The words sprains and strains are commonly used as synonyms but they in fact characterize distinct injuries. A sprain is a stretch or tear of the ligaments, the tissue that connects our bones at the joints, whereas a strain is a stretch or tear of the muscle or a tendon, the tissue that connects muscles to bones. Both strains and sprains are quite common– about 25,000 people sprain an ankle every day.
Sprains are graded on a scale of 1 to 3; grade 1 sprains represent stretches of the ligament or a mild tear but without instability at the joint. Grade 2 sprains are more serious but are still incomplete tears. Grade 3 sprains are those with completely ruptured ligaments; it is often impossible to put weight on the joint or use the affected limb. Usually, the degree of pain and swelling are good indicators for sprain / strain severity but not always. Some injuries, such as Achilles tendon tears, become more painful over time.
Sprains and strains may be evaluated by a medical professional, such as those at WellNow, who can evaluate the case to determine severity and recommend therapeutic options. Remember that if pain and swelling do not begin to subside within 24-72 hours or if you cannot bear weight on the injury, see a professional and avoid further damage!