What is the Difference Between a Sprain and a Strain?

Have you ever asked your self, what is the difference between a sprain and a strain? If so, read the valuable information here.

As a result of a quick twist or turn, you may have injured your knee. It is possible that your knee was forced into an awkward position and now you have pain… Let’s take a look at the differences between a sprain and a strain to give you some useful information.

Stretching in one specific direction can stress the ligament that is trying to hold the knee in place. When the ligament is stretched or has a tear, this is known as a “sprain”. These ligaments, are thick bands of cartilage that will attach bone to bone. Examples of some ligaments that you have in your knee are the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and the Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL). Common symptoms that you may experience in a sprain include, swelling of the knee, bruising, instability and painful movements. There are three grades of sprains; grades 1,2 and 3. In a grade 1 sprain, ligaments fibers are not torn, they are stretched; grade 2 sprains are more severe and tear the fibers, but the ligament does remain intact; and lastly, grade 3 tears completely disrupt the ligament and it is no longer intact.

Strains, conversely, are injuries that involve tendons and muscles. Tendons are the tissues that connect muscles to bones. Depending on the level of severity of the injury, a strain maybe a simple overstretch of the tendon or muscle, or you may be suffering from a partial or complete tear. A grade 1 strain is mild and involves the damage of some muscle fibers. As a result, healing can occur in two to three weeks. In a grade 2 strain, there is moderate damage to the muscle or tendon, although it is not completely ruptured. This healing process is longer and can take up to 3-6 weeks. In a grade 3 strain, a complete rupture has occured, and the injury is more severe. The need for surgery may arise, and the healing process may take up to three months. Tendons usually do not heal as quickly because they have a more poor blood supply, compared to other tissues in the body.

As a result, if you have sprained or strained your knee, you may be well served by the use of a low profile knee brace. Knee braces can help you feel more stable by helping to eliminate excessive movements that will cause pain, thus giving you more confidence in your daily activities.