Sprains and strains are not uncommon among individuals with an active lifestyle. But few people understand the differences between the two. While both of these conditions are painful, they are the result of damage to different tissues of the body.
Sprains and Strains
While sprains are ligament injuries, strains are injuries to either muscles or tendons.
It is important to know that ligaments are the thick elastic bands connecting two bones together. They stabilize joints and facilitate movement. On the other hand, tendons are the tissues that bind muscle to bone.
Grades of Sprains and Strains
Your orthopedic doctor will classify your sprain or strain based on its severity. All sprains and strains are painful but more serious injuries take longer to heal, even need surgery to be repaired.
This is a mild injury in which the muscle or ligament may be overstretched or sustain a minor tear. In most grade I sprains or strains, you can recover with RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation of the affected area.
This one is a moderate sprain or strain in which the muscle or ligament is still intact but more extensively torn. Your doctor would recommend a comprehensive treatment plan, and you would need longer to recover.
Grade III injuries are severe. They indicate that the tissues have are completely torn or ruptures. In such cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair the injured tissues.