A muscle strain, commonly called a pulled muscle, is when you overstretch or tear the tendon, the part that attaches the muscle to the bone. A sprain is a torn or stretched ligament which is the tissue that joins two bones together.
Hamstrings and groin muscles are two of the most commonly strained muscles. These muscles are often strained because people do not take time to warm up or do not ease into a workout by starting slowly. You can tell if you strain your hamstring, which is your rear thigh muscle, if a sharp pain shoots up the back of your thigh when you try to straighten your legs. A groin pull, which is a pull of the inner thigh muscle, is characterized by a stabbing pain when you try to move your leg toward the other leg or around to the side. In either case you may feel a knot where the muscle has tightened up. You should stop the exercise which caused the activity for a few days to give the muscle time to heal. Otherwise, you could wind up teething it which could land you on your back for a few days. Light stretching of the muscle may be helpful.
Applying ice to the injured area for a day or two may help to speed up the healing process. Gentle massaging also helps.
To avoid future muscle pulls, you should stretch your muscles everyday, and especially after a thorough warm-up. You should increase your exercise program on a preliminary basis to prevent strains.
The ankle is the most frequent place to suffer a sprain. If you sprain it badly enough you may hear a singing sound, or a loud pop when it happens. The area of the sprain is usually bruised and swollen, and you can not place any weight on it without feeling pain. It's best to keep your shoe on for as long as possible after a sprain. Afterwards you need to rest it. You should keep it upgraded and treated with ice packs and an ace bandage for at least 48 hours after the injury.