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What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?

Written By Wellness Heights on November 13, 2020

The difference between a sprain and a strain is the tissue that is involved.  There may also be a difference in treatment depending on the grade of the injury. 

A sprain is damage to a ligament which is a tissue that connects two or more bones in a joint.  An example would be the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee, which connects the femur to the tibia.  A strain is damage to a muscle or tendon, which is tissue that connects muscle to bone.  An example of a tendon would be the achilles, which connects the muscles in your calf to your heel bone.  They are both graded by the severity of damage.  

Sprains:  Grade 1 involves stretching or slight tearing of the ligament, Grade 2 involves an incomplete tear of the ligament, and Grade 3 involves a complete tear of the ligament.  

Strains:  Grade 1 involves stretching a few fibers, Grade 2 involves tearing of a few muscle fibers,  and Grade 3 is complete rupture of the muscle.

Tendons and ligaments heal slowly due to less blood flow.  For less severe injuries motion is important to stimulate blood flow which brings nutrients and metabolites necessary for healing.  It also slows fibrosis resulting in immobility.  

Wellness Heights uses different tools such as rapid release therapy, dynamic taping, adjustments, and strengthening exercises to keep you in the game.   

Posted In: Chiropractic Dynamic Taping Rapid Release Therapy