Do you know what the difference between strain and sprain is?

If you want to differentiate between sprain and strains and find it difficult, then you are not alone. These are the common terms used for overstretching and tearing of soft tissues around the joints. This is the main difference between joint sprain and strain.

Common Symptoms

A sprain of a joint is overstretching and tearing of ligaments. Ligaments are the tissues which connect the ends of joints. An ankle sprain is the most common location for a sprain.

Sprain and strain

A strain is the overstretching a tearing of tendons or muscles. Tendons are the dense fibrous cords of tissues that connect bones to muscles. The common location for a strain is the hamstring muscles and lower back muscles.

The symptoms of strain and strain are similar and can be confusing for many people.

Common symptoms of sprains

For an unprofessional person, it can be hard to determine whether the symptoms are of sprain or strain.

However, the symptoms of a sprain include:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Limited flexibility
  • Pain around the affected joint
  • Reduced range motion of joint

Common symptoms of strain

The common symptoms of strains include:

  • Muscle spasm
  • Swelling
  • Limited flexibility
  • Pain around the affected joint
  • Difficulty using the joint

As you know, approx. All symptoms are the same. However, the main difference is that a sprain may have to bruise around the affected area, while with a strain, you may have a spasm in the affected muscle.


Human bodies work hard every day, so an occasional sprain or strain is common. However, some situations make you more likely to injure your joints. This may include:

  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Accident
  • Falling or slipping
  • Overexerting yourself
  • Prolonged repetitive motion

Commonly affected joints are:

  • Knee joint
  • Ankle joint
  • Wrist joint
  • Thumb joint
  • Back joints

Risk factors

Anyone anywhere, at any age can experience sprain and strain. But some risk factors increase the odds for overstretching a joint. These risk factors include:

  • Not warming up – Human body needs a proper warm up before doing any exercise. You should warm up gently, stretches the muscles and increases your range of motion. A cool down stretch help strengthen your muscles for better joint support.
  • Being tired – When you are tired, you don’t carry your body properly. If you are tired, it means you are less likely to perform well. You should do some days off, so your body can relax and heal completely.
  • Using improper equipment – If you use improper equipment, or lift heavy weight without safety measurements, it increases the risk for a strain or sprain.
  • Environment – Wet, oily or slippery surfaces have a massive risk of getting a slip. These are the risk factor you can’t control. However, if you are aware of the factors, you can avoid severe injuries


Doctors diagnose a sprain or strain by excluding other causes for your symptoms. After the brief checkup, your doctor recommends your X-rays. An x-ray can describe briefly whether internal infection occurs or not.

If the x-ray is not conclusive, the doctor may also prescribe your another type of imaging test which is called an MRI scan. Magnetic resonance imaging scan can give a detailed view of the joint.



In some cases, sprain and strain get better on its own.

You first need to minimize the aching, burning and pain sensation to start the treatment. For this purpose, you can also use painkillers.

After this step, you can use the RICE method to start the healing process.

The process of RICE includes:

  • Rest – You should completely rest your affected area.
  • Ice – If you apply ice on your affected area, this will help you to reduce the inflammation
  • Compression – Compression help reduce the swelling. Wrap the bandage on the affected area. Do not wrap it too tightly; it can reduce the blood flow to the affected area.
  • Elevation – Try to keep the affected area elevated above the level of the heart. This will help reduce the swelling

If you don’t feel any healing, you can consult your doctor.

By Aayushi Pradhan

I am an online blogger who provides you adequate information related to different categories of business and latest technology and trends. Writing on different topics give me the pleasure to cater knowledge and through my blogs I try to communicate with the world