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Sprain or Strain?

Sprain or Strain?

We have all heard about sprains and strains and I am sure many of us believe they are the same thing.

Up to a point, you are correct, they are both an injury to the body but the difference is where the injury occurs.

sprain is an injury to a ligament. That’s why we get the term, “I sprained my ankle”, as we injure the ligaments around the ankle.

strain is an injury to either a muscle or tendon so we get the term, “I strained a muscle”

With both sprains and strains, we get 3 different grades. Grade 1, 2 and 3.

Grade 1 is a mild injury. Something similar to what would be commonly known as a pulled muscle. Will heal in 2/3 weeks.

Grade 2 is a moderate injury. Basically a tear has formed in the tissue BUT it is not a full tear. Healing takes up to 6 weeks. Expect a bit of bruising and swelling with this injury.

Grade 3 is a severe injury. This is a complete tear or rupture of the tissues. The bruising and swelling will be very bad with this type of injury. In many cases, surgery is required and healing can take up to 3 months.

(Image courtesy of Paul Gooddy at

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