Sprains and Strains

Also known as: ankle sprain, ankle strain, wrist sprain, wrist strain, knee sprain, knee strain.

What are sprains and strains?

Sprains and strains are two related but slightly different injuries. If the ligaments, or bands of tissue that connect the bones in a joint, get stretched or torn, this is a sprain. If a muscle or tendon, the bands of tissue that connects muscles to bones, get stretched or torn, this is known as a strain.

What causes sprains and strains?

Sprains and strain are caused by injuries, either from a direct impact to a joint or overuse of the joint due to a repetitive motion.

What are the symptoms of sprains and strains?

Pain, bruising, swelling, a popping sensation or difficulty moving or using the joint are common symptoms of sprains and strains. They can occur in the ankles, knees, wrists or other joints throughout the body.

What are sprains and strains care options?

Mild sprains and strains can be treated with rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE) and over-the-counter medications. Braces or splints can help immobilize the injury while it heals. Physical therapy and stretching exercises can also help. In some instances, surgery may be required to repair the injury.


Reviewed by: Annie L Casta, MD

This page was last updated on: 8/7/2018 10:38:20 AM


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