What’s The Difference Between A Sprain, Strain, and Tear?

A Sprain, strain, and tear–these types of injuries can occur at any time, especially when you workout. Many times when you’re running, jumping or even lifting, you can get injured, which is why it’s important to know the difference and how to fix the problem.

Martin Mufich, MSN, RN, sports massage therapist and clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Nursing, offers some tips to better recognize and prevent common workout injuries. “See a health care provider to be sure about the type of harm that may have occurred, especially if improvements are not seen within 24 hours,” Mufich recommends.ankle injury,strain

Sprain: Ligament injury

A sprain involves the overstretching or tearing of the ligaments, which are the fibrous connective tissues that connect bones to each other and stabilize them. “Sprains occur when the joint is forced into an unnatural position,” Mufich said. “They happen most often in the ankle but can occur at any joint, such as the wrist or knee.” Ligament injuries on the outside ankle occur when the ankle turns outward and the foot twists inward. On the other hand, inner-ankle sprains, which are less common than those on the outside of the ankle, result from the ankle rocking inward and the foot turning outward.

Joint or muscle pain, inflammation, hampered movement, tenderness and bruising are symptoms of a sprain. The severity of the sprain can range from mild to serious. A tweak of the ankle could result in an overstretched ligament that becomes tender, swollen and stiff, but the ankle should still be stable enough to support the weight of walking. “A mild sprain should take approximately seven to 10 days to heal,” Mufich said. “A torn ligament is considered a severe sprain that will cause pain, inflammation, bruising and result in ankle instability, often making it difficult and painful to walk. Recovery from a torn ligament may take several weeks, and should be done under the supervision of a health care provider.”