Sprains, Strains & Sports Injuries
Signs & Symptoms
A sprain happens when you overstretch or tear a ligament. (This is fibrous tissue that connects bones.) A joint is affected, but there is no dislocation or fracture. Symptoms are rapid pain, swelling, bruising, and a warm feeling at the injured site.
A strain is an injury to the muscles or tendons. (These are tissues that connect muscles to bones.) Symptoms are pain, tenderness, swelling, and bruising.
For Sports Injuries
Sports injury symptoms depend on the injury. They include pain, tenderness, swelling, and bruising. Bones may be broken or dislocated. (See Common Sports Injuries above.)
Sprains occur from an accident, injury, fall, etc. A strain occurs when you overstretch or overexert a muscle or tendon (not a ligament). This is usually due to overuse and injuries, such as sports injuries.
Treatment for sprains, strains, and sports injuries depends on the injury and on the extent of damage. Self-care may be all that is needed for mild injuries. Sports injuries and sprains may need medical treatment. Some sprains need a cast. Others may need surgery if the tissue affected is torn.
An ankle sprain can cause strain on the achilles tendon.
Broken bones (other than broken toes) need medical care right away.
Questions to Ask
Do you suspect a head, neck, or spinal injury by any of these symptoms?
(Note: See First Aid section in Head/Neck/Spine Injuries.)
Are any of these signs present?
(Note: See First Aid section in Broken Bones/Dislocations.
Does the sprain or strain not improve after using self-care for 2 days?
Self-Care / First Aid
To Prevent Serious Injuries (especially during contact sports)
Do warm-up exercises before the activity.