Sprains and Strains

Ligaments attach bone to adjacent bone and can be damaged in a fall, an accident, or through overuse. Such injuries are called sprains and include acute back sprains, knee sprains, or ankle sprains. Sprains are graded as mild, moderate or severe. Mild sprains refer to overstretching and microtears of the fibers. A partial tear, with or without instability or looseness, is considered moderate. A severe sprain implies a complete or near complete tear of tendon fibers that results in looseness or instability at the joint.

A sprain is a damaged ligament.

Tendons attach muscle to bone. Muscle or tendon injury is referred to as a strain or tendonitis. Tendonitis, including achilles tendonitis, shoulder tendonitis, hamstring or quadriceps muscle strains, fall into this category.

A strain or tendonitis is an injury to a muscle or tendon.

Mild to moderate lower extremity sprains and strains heal without residual problems if treated early. Primary treatment includes ice and NSAIDs, partial weight bearing with crutches as necessary, and early therapy to maintain range of motion at the joint.

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