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Sprain vs. Strain

Posted On November 11, 2020

Being home more at least for myself and family has led to many (do it yourself) DIY home projects and renovations. Although DIY home projects can be great they can also unfortunately lead to sprains or strains. 

Sprain and strains are often used interchangeably and confused with one another. I am here to debunk this myth and clarify it for you.

A sprain is an injury to a ligament (tissue that connects bone to bone), with this injury a ligament is stretched or torn 

Strain: injury to a muscle or tendon (tissue that connects muscles to bone). With this injury a muscle or tendon is stretched or torn 

Areas commonly affected by sprain or strain: 

Ankle Knee 
Wrist Thumb 
Shoulder Low  Back 
Elbow 

What to do about a sprain or strain? 

  • Returning to activity (gym, DIY projects, sports) too soon may lead to re-injuring the area. 

How to prevent sprains/strains? 

  • Use proper lifting techniques 
  • Use ergonomic tools 
  • Use appropriate warm ups prior to activity 
  • Use planning and pacing techniques for DIY projects 

For the best and individualized advice for  return to gym or sport visit a local physiotherapist for detailed assessment. Treatment may include exercise (stretching, strengthening, range of motion), modalities (acupuncture, soft tissue massage).  Physiotherapists deal with all types of injuries everyday and can help get you back to optimal health and back to your regular or optimized gym workout/program! 

Name: Haley Carter

Profession: Registered Physiotherapist

Resources:

https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/sprains-and-strains

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sprains/symptoms-causes/syc-20377938

https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/10-most-common-gym-injuries-and-how-to-prevent-them/slide-6

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