Sprain vs. Strain

Sprain vs. Strain

From time to time, our frantic pace of life leads to a number of problems such as strain and sprain. Unexpectedness waits for us everywhere: being late, catching a train on the subway, quickly running up the stairs to the office, turning sharply during training, etc. By the way, strain and sprain often proceed much worse than a fracture.

What is strain?

Strain occurs when your muscle is overstretched or torn.

The destruction of muscle fiber is not an irreplaceable loss. Muscle tissue is capable of regeneration, after which the restored muscles function in full.
Muscle pain can occur next day after exercise, fitness. Convulsive twitching in the muscles, their spontaneous contractions may indicate a muscle strain or rupture. Typically, the patient says that he or she “pulled the muscle”.

The most common damage is stretching the muscles of the adductor group along the inner surface of the thighs. This condition is accompanied by severe spastic pain.

Muscle strain is also a common sports injury.

What is sprain?

Sprain is damage to one or more ligaments in a joint.

When the ligaments are stretched, micro-tears of collagen fibers occur, and since the extensibility of the ligaments is small, damage to the ligamentous apparatus is often accompanied by their complete rupture.

An experienced orthopedic traumatologist can determine the amount of damage based on the mechanism of injury. However, an objective assessment of true damage is possible only with the help of MRI techniques.

How are sprains and strains treated?

Limiting the range of motion and thermal procedures reduce muscle pain. Rotational movements should be avoided, as they can provoke tears in spasmodic muscles.

Lymphatic drainage for bruises and hematomas in the muscles reduces swelling, accelerates the resorption of blood and tissue exudate. Limit stress and training for 1 month. In case of muscle ruptures of more than 3/4 across, surgical treatment is required, which consists in suturing the damaged muscle and its additional fixation with a tendon.

Surgical correction is completed by immobilization of the injured limb up to 1 month with a pause in training up to 3 months.

After the injury, the inactive muscle fiber contracts and shortens. One can gradually begin to load the muscles only after the final recovery. Rehabilitation after injuries is successfully supplemented by physiotherapeutic procedures, massage.

Prevention of muscle damage

Many injuries can be avoided if you carry out a full workout. Stretching muscles before and after exercise also minimizes damage to muscle fibers. In some cases, during sports loads, muscle hardening occurs. This should be a signal for a decrease in activity, a massage to eliminate muscle tension.

There are different types of injuries of the musculoskeletal system, depending on the topography of the lesions.

Features of sports injuries

Depending on the sport, the potential risks of damage increase.

Cyclists, swimmers and basketball players often get damage to the musculoskeletal system of the lower extremity belt, ankle and knee joints, tendons of the feet and lower legs.

Volleyball players, golfers, tennis players and handball players are more likely to have upper limb injuries, tendonitis, bursitis, as well as muscle strain on the forearms and shoulder.

Football players and hockey players expose the ligaments of the knee joints, muscles of the hips and lower legs to excessive loads.

Causes of strain and sprain

In professional sports, muscle and joints damage can be caused by:

  • insufficient workout;
  • poor coordination of movements;
  • reassessment of physical abilities;
  • late age for active loads;
  • insufficient preparation of the ligamentous apparatus, muscles and joints;
  • lack of a “sense of proportion” during training;
  • physical inactivity;
  • insufficient recovery after exertion.

Self-medication for strain and sprain

Depending on the frequency and prevalence of muscle injuries, a doctor can prescribe various treatment option, including elastic bandages, headscarves, patches, anti-inflammatory and analgesic ointments and gels containing diclofenac sodium, ibuprofen, etc.

When should I see a doctor?

The tactics for treating muscle injuries largely depend on the degree of damage to the muscle fiber. With minor tears, sprains, accompanied by a slight swelling and moderate soreness, you can limit yourself to immobilization, rest and the use of local anti-inflammatory drugs.

If the resulting trauma intensifies edema and pain, and the function of the damaged limb is severely limited, you may need the help of a professional specialist.
In case of emergency, you should immediately contact an orthopedic surgeon in a polyclinic or walk-in medical center. Timely professional medical care is the key to a successful and quick recovery.